Structure Type: built works - public buildings - schools - university buildings; built works - social and civic buildings - libraries

Designers: Warnecke, John Carl, and Associates, Architects (firm); John Carl Warnecke Sr. (architect)

Dates: constructed 1964-1966, demolished 2015

4 stories

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Escondido Mall and Galvez Mall
Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305

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Meyer Library was an awkward essay in New Formalism by John Carl Warnecke, a leading San Francisco architect. The rectabgular library, demolished in 03/2015, was not popular with students or administrators. Its open atrium allowed noise to penetrate each floor and took away significant square footage in the middle of the plan. The hole in the center carved up work areas into the corners. This might work well for some purposes, but it was not a flexible plan, able to be reconfigured easily for multiple, large-scale purposes.

Building History

Meyer Library had its dedication on 12/02/1966. Architect John Carl Warnecke (1919-2010), an alumnus of Stanford, designed several buildings on campus, including the nearby Bookstore/Post Office complex. Warnecke created a temple of knowledge in his design for Meyer Library, the building raised on a plinth and surrounded by a peripteral colonnade. The reinforced concrete columns, with capitals that bloomed continuously from the shaft to the roof's soffit, recalled those made famous by Detroit, MI-based architect, Minoru Yamasaki, in the 1950s-1960s.

John Henry Meyer (1855–1921), born to a pioneering Euro-American family in Sacramento County, CA, made a fortune as a banker. He resided in multiple places in the Bay Area: San Francisco in 1880, Berkeley, CA, in 1900, and by 1910, had moved to Menlo Park, CA. Meyer served as a long-time executive in the private banking house of Antoine Borel and Company in San Francisco and as the President of the San Francisco Street Railway Company (1909-1921). At this death, he was a director of the Union Trust Company, Wells Fargo Nevada National Bank, General Petroleum Corporation, and the Spring Valley Water Company. Like many of the elite businessmen of his era, he belonged to the Union and Bohemian Clubs in San Francisco. (See "J. Henry Meyer, Financier, Dies at Menlo Park Home," Sausalito News, vol. 37, no. 15, 04/09/1921, p. 2.)

According to the Online Archive of California, "The Meyers were generous supporters of Stanford University. J. Henry Meyer donated funds towards the Lane Medical Library building and endowed library book funds. Meyer's daughters Eugenie and Alice, along with Alice's husband Frank E. Buck continued his tradition of generous support to Stanford University. They established an endowed professorship in the Graduate School of Business, donated a collection of valuable Western Americana from Mr. Meyer's library, and established the J. Henry Meyer Memorial Library. The Meyer-Buck House was built in 1920 and later willed to Stanford by Meyer's daughters." (See Jenny Johnson, "Guide to the Meyer Family Papers SC0187," Stanford University, published 2008, accessed 10/02/2017.)

In the late 1990s, the Stanford University Library maintained staff workspaces in many former stack and student study locations in Meyer Library. All occupants of the building were removed in 2014

Building Notes

The first floor of Meyer Library was ringed by small rooms that could be used as meeting spaces or offices, and were accessible from the library's exterior.

In later years, the East Asia Library occupied space on Meyer Library's fourth floor.


The main entry of Meyer Library was changed from the building's south side to its north facing Green Library.

A major renovation occurred in Meyer Hall after 2000.


Meyer Library's atrium plan made it poor for use as a library, as noise from the center carried throughout the building. Numerous attempts to renovate it proved inadequate for new uses. Stanford planners projected its demolition in 2012, but finally succeeded in razing it in early 2015.

PCAD id: 13087