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Doheny Jr. Memorial Library, University of Southern California

Los Angeles, California

Historic Renovation

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  • The Doheny Library was reopened after undergoing an extensive seismic strengthening program and historic restoration. The result is a facility that is true to its original architectural design while incorporating the most state-of-the-art systems for telecommunication and network infrastructure, security, HVAC and rare book storage.


  • Harley Ellis Devereaux achieved the goal of a seismic structural upgrade with minimal impact on the historic library spaces, while addressing current life safety and future technology infrastructure requirements.
  • Because the building's original concrete-encased, steel-framed structure had protected the building from more serious earthquake damage, our concern focused on future performance of the unreinforced masonry infill walls.
  • Doheny Library is an extraordinary example of architectural design for both the design of the 1931 original and a 1965 additionn, both involving Samuel E. Lunden, Associated with Cram & Ferguson of Boston. The 1994 Northridge earthquake provided the impetus to address future earthquake performance of this landmark library.
  • The work supports, not supplants, the original design and fabric of the structure, becoming kind of joint venture over time. Close collaboration by our design team with client project management and contracting per construction services was of primary importance.
  • Structural analysis identified optimal areas for introducing shear walls; these were refined to maximize the structural benefit while being responsive to the effects on the historic fabric.
  • The Feuchtwanger Library Room was created by capturing space from a well-placed yet underutilized storage room. This adaptive -reuse design incorporates the style and "decorated structure" techniques of the original building design and construction method. Built-in and freestanding wood furniture reflect surrounding interior finish treatment.

people involved in this project:

J. Peter Devereaux

FAIA, LEED AP
Chairman and CEO