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Temple University has spent a billion dollars over the last decade transforming itself from a commuter college into a residential school that can draw students nationally. It’s added glassy classroom buildings, a ritzy skyscraper dorm, and amenities such as cafés and rock-climbing walls. Yet, for all the flash, it was never clear how the expensive parts were supposed to fit together.
With the completion of a new master plan last year and the hiring of a university architect in 2011, Temple seems to have finally found its compass. The school ditched a problematic plan to build a new library on Broad Street and moved the project to the university’s natural core, near its iconic bell tower.
It turned out to be an a-ha! moment.
Instead of just adding another isolated architectural trophy, Temple is using the $190 million library project to launch a long-overdue, place-making effort. Temple will clear several obsolete buildings from the center of campus to make way for a large grassy quadrangle. The library, which parallels Liacouras Walk, will anchor the west side of that new landscape. ….