AKA: Stanford University, Bookstore #2, Stanford, CA

Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - stores; built works - public buildings - schools - university buildings

Designers: Church, Thomas D. , Landscape Architect (firm); Kasin, Guttman and Malayan, Engineers (firm); Thompson, Isadore, Structural Engineer (firm); Warnecke, John Carl, and Associates, Architects (firm); Wright, Howard J., Building Contractor (firm); Thomas Dolliver Church (landscape architect); Guttman (engineer); Kasin (engineer); Malayan (engineer); Isadore Thompson (engineer); John Carl Warnecke Sr. (architect); Howard J. Wright (building contractor)

Dates: constructed 1959-1960

2 stories

519 Lasuen Mall
Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305

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Building History

Architect John Carl Warnecke (1919-2010), an alumnus of Stanford University, went on to design several buildings on campus, including Roscoe Maples Pavilion and the Cummings Art Building (now demolished).

Architect and campus planning expert Richard Dober said of Warnecke's Stanford Bookstore and Post Office in 1963: "The design expression of the Stanford campus was was established in the early quadrangles developed by Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge. The new bookstore and post office intelligently provided design continuity, though precast vaulted forms were used in place of the older rusticated stone. The use of red tile roofs and a continuation of the University's tradition of using arcades helped meld together new and old. The bookstore and postoffice [sic] constitute the first phase construction of what eventually will be a nine building student activity center located in the heart of the campus." (See Richard P. Dober, Campus Planning, [New York: Reinhold Publishing Company, 1963], p. 105.) The Tresidder Memorial Union, completed in 1962 by Spencer, Lee and Busse, Architects, was planned to use a similar formal vocabulary of precast concrete vaults and a red-tile roof.

Building Notes

The combined Stanford Book Store/US Post Office cost $489,569 to build and the former had space for 4,000 books. The interior of the rectangular store had an 85-foot clear span on its long dimension and was lit by a 100-foot long skylight. It was part of a larger project to provide nine new student activity buildings on campus. The Stanford Book Store's vaults were composed of precast reinforced concrete, fitted into position on top of cast-in-place concrete columns. Precast concrete bents were made for roof and wall framing. Because the structural loads were carried on these vaults, column-top connectors and the columns themselves, walls did not have to be load-bearing. Concrete block with stucco finish and large windows composed the wall elevations.

The Western Architect and Engineer stated in 1961 of the architect's problem of designing a Modern book store/post office complex on campus filled with strong Richardsonian Romanesque and Mediterranean Revival architecture: "Their problem: Modern architecture's persistent difficulty in reconciling new and old, complicated here by an unusually consistent environment produced by rigorous design control in prewar years. Praiseworth for their individual architectural merit, they are even more so for the respect they pay their hallowed neighbors. First of all, their hipped roofs are red clay tile and their stuccoed block walls tan. Secondly, they are joined abd partially surrounded by canopies whose arches echo those of the older buildings' perimeter corridors. And finally, they make subtle reference to the rugged textures which pervade the quad. The stucco walls are not quite smooth, the caponies' undersides are ridged, and columns are rough and pocked. The arches are composed of precast concrete umbrellas hoisted onto the poured-in-lace columns. The resulting flat-roofed canopies actually form all four walls of the post office and most of the two walls of the bookstore, then continue in an arcade linking the two buildings." (See "Respectful Addition to the Stanford Campus," Western Architect and Engineer, vol. 221, no. 4, 04/1961, p. 35-37.)

PCAD id: 16473