carnegie building

In Carnegie Building,
Historic Meets Modern

By Victor Rogers APRIL 2, 2018

Like many of Georgia Tech’s facilities, the Andrew Carnegie building has a storied history, beginning as the original campus library.

carnegie from the archives

The Carnegie Library circa 1910, 1930, and 1950. Source: Georgia Tech Library Archives

Steel magnate Andrew Carnegie donated $20,000 to Georgia Tech for the construction of the library. He gave the money with the stipulation that the Board of Trustees would allocate $2,000 annually to the library’s operating budget.

The Carnegie Library’s groundbreaking was in November of 1906, and it opened in 1907 with a donation of 700 books from Columbia University. The building remained a library until 1953, when the Price Gilbert Library opened.

The building now serves as offices for Tech’s executive leadership team: the president, the provost, the executive vice president for Administration and Finance, and the executive vice president for Research. The building’s 2016 renovation adds another chapter to its history.

The renovation began as a plan to repair some squeaky floors and refresh the carpet and paint. After further discussion and examination of the overall condition of the building, the plan expanded to include replacing windows and doors, making the restrooms ADA compliant, remodeling the offices, and installing an elevator  a first for the two-story building.

“We also opened up the front entry stair,” said Liz Punch, manager of Construction Administration in Facilities Design and Construction, who managed the renovation. The door to the stairwell to the lower level was removed, making the entry more inviting.

The building had to be vacated while the work was done, beginning in Spring 2016.

“I like a challenge,” said Punch, who had a short timeline to complete the renovation. “We did the construction in four and a half months  from the time they moved out until when they moved back in.”

Schneider Wright, Inc. was the architecture firm for the project, with Tech graduate Eric Clementi as lead architect.

The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation presented the 2017 Preservation Award for Excellence in Rehabilitation to Georgia Tech for the Carnegie Building.

carnegie - full view

The Carnegie Building originally was the Carnegie Library. The building now houses offices for President G.P. “Bud” Peterson and the executive leadership team.

carnegie cornerstone

The cornerstone of the building is engraved with Lux et Veritas, meaning light and truth.

carnegie face

The face above the door, allegedly modeled after Andrew Carnegie’s likeness, greets visitors to the Carnegie Building.

carnegie entrance

The original transom window over the front door was restored.

president office

In President G.P. “Bud” Peterson’s office, the windows facing Tech Tower used to be covered with sheetrock. Now, the windows are uncovered.

tour starts at carnegie

Campus tours often begin outside the Carnegie Building’s ADA entrance, which faces the Bill Moore Student Success Center. A wheelchair ramp is to the right of the door.

carnegie - provost art

The art displayed in the provost’s office is a mixture of pieces created by Provost Bras, by his mother, and by students who created works for the Clough Art Crawl.

carnegie - provost office

A longtime collector of maps, Provost Rafael L. Bras displays a variety of maps above his desk. The provost’s seating area has a model of Tech’s Einstein statue on the coffee table.