Sterling Memorial Library - Yale University

The Sterling Memorial Library was built by James Gamble Rogers, and first opened its doors in 1930. The design was based in a Collegiate Gothic style, which was popular to Ivy League campuses at the time of its construction.

The Nave portion of the library is considered by many to be the crown jewel of the University’s New Haven campus. The clerestory of the Nave is home to 22 large multi-lancet windows made by G. Owen Bonawit (1891-1971). Bonawit created thousands of panels for many universities including Yale, Duke & Northwestern, to name a few.

The Nave windows of the library display many of the talents of this famous artist. The most noticeable technique present in the nave windows is the use of lead overlays and sculpted soldering. The overlays would be floated with solder, and the craftsman would use a hot iron to add texture to the solder. The texture gives the viewer a three-dimensional impression of items ranging from tree bark, to the texture of a piece of clothing. This technique give the panels a very unique visual aesthetic.

The restoration project took about 18 months to complete, under the direction of Turner Construction and the guidance of Helpern architects.

*photo credits - Yale University


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