Construction and Materials

To ensure the new library was in keeping with the rest of the Academy campus, the design documents developed by the faculty committee specified the use of various materials, including that the library be brick. Materials used in construction of the Class of 1945 Library therefore include:

Brick made in Exeter, NHLibrary Terrace Woodcut by John DePol

Eno, the local company that made the brick, closed its doors to the public in 1965 and went out of business in 1966. The Academy bought up their supply, two million bricks of a roughly textured, waterstruck brick, and used it in the construction of the new library and Elm Street Dining Hall. 420,000 exterior face bricks are used in the library, while 300,000 interior face bricks are used. In addition, approximately 41,000 common bricks were used, as well as small quantities that went into fireplaces, etc.

Library Spiral StaircaseSlate from Pennsylvania

Specifications for New Library and Dining Hall, Phillips Exeter Academy states all slate should be “unfading blue-black, natural cleft," from the Buckingham-Virginia Slate Corp.

Granite from Vermont

Specifications for New Library and Dining Hall, Phillips Exeter Academy states the granite should be “Rockport, … quarried by Providence Granite Company, Providence, Rhode Island."

Travertine Marble from Carrera, Italy

Library Marble Stairs

The gray-white travertine is used on the floor of the central hall (Rockefeller Hall) and main entrance staircase.

Poured Concrete

The specifications for the library state, “the quality of concrete work will largely determine the quality of architecture"1 and go on to say, “Accordingly, concrete must have not only the required strength but also the desired appearance. Exposed concrete shall not be patched or dressed in any way after removal of forms. Make all effort to avoid honeycombing."2 As a result, the concrete work was left untouched “once the forms had been stripped, showing the cavities left by the form ties, and the raised ridges that revealed where joints between the pieces of formwork had occurred."3

Library ceiling

The two large cross beams at the top of the central hall are of 165 tons of poured concrete. All the concrete in the central hall plays a part in supporting the building; none is decorative. In addition, the concrete pad on which the building is constructed because of poor soil conditions was the single largest pouring of concrete ever done in one day in New Hampshire.

The total amount of concrete used in the library is estimated to be approximately 5,621 cubic yards, of which a little over 1,000 cubic yards are in the basement slab, which averages 2’ 2" thick. Normally, you can figure a cubic yard of concrete to weigh 4,000 pounds.

Reinforced Steel

Approximately 501 tons.


Exterior woodwork. The teak was left unfinished, to weather naturally.

White oak

Interior millwork. The oak was treated with only a light coat of oil as a preservative.

Wall-to-wall carpeting

18 tons of three different colors.


Specifications for New Library and Dining Hall, Phillips Exeter Academy, 1968, 0330-2.
Specifications ..., 0330-2.
3 Jay Wickersham, "The Making of Exeter Library," The Making of Architecture (New York: Rizzoli International Publications, Inc., 1989), p. 148.