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Union Presbyterian Seminary: Spence Library

Glavé & Holmes Architecture

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GKD Metal Fabrics

Project Name

Union Presbyterian Seminary: Spence Library

Project Status


Year Completed



Union Presbyterian Seminary


GKD Omega 1520

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Project Description

Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, Virginia is a study in conservative Protestant history. From the outside, the red brick Tudor Revival buildings reflect their historical surroundings while the interiors reflect growth, change and development. The Presbyterian institution has been redefining and transforming some of its buildings, looking to the future and another century of service.

Glav & Holmes Architecture was commissioned to rehabilitate the Spence Library, one of the buildings of this 28,000-square-foot property, turning it into a state-of-the-art facility for teaching and worship.

The Spence Library once housed eight levels of library stacks. The architects removed the self-supporting stacks to create a 40’ X 40’ X 40’ awe-inspiring worship room, meeting location and teaching space. Using contemporary styling, overlaying materials and moveable walls for maximum flexibility, the library now stands as a modern testament to design without having sacrificed any of the buildings original integrity.

Glave & Holmes Architecture used GKD’s Omega 1520 woven metal mesh finished in bronze and stainless as the overlays – creating the illusion of walls without compromising the filtered daylight, infusing the space with light to help to create the welcoming feeling of openness.

The chapel, now sitting in the place once occupied by the library stacks, is nestled within the other spaces, separated by huge mesh screens woven of bronze. The metal mesh provides a warm and dramatic backdrop for the chapel, and works as a balustrade for the balconies. Huge bronze mesh screens placed over the many windows provide sun shading by day, and add shimmering metallic detail to the chapel at night when illuminated by carefully placed lighting.
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