NEW YORK, NY, January 27, 2020 — R.P. Brennan is pleased to share the completion of the construction of the New York University Special Collections Center, which has recently been awarded the AIA Leroy award to the architect CannonDesign.

Project Summary

The New York University Special Collections Center project was to co-locate all special collections (Fales Library, Tamiment Library, and the University Archives) on floors 2 and 3 of the New York University Bobst Library. R.P. Brennan’s team was brought on board as the construction manager early in the design development and decision-making process with the architect Cannon Design. The project included rebuilding two floors totaling at 60,000 square feet.


New York University has a world-renowned wealth of special collections that are celebrated in full fruition within this remarkable new space of transparency, intrigue, and beauty. Ranging from the evolution of the feminist punk youth movement Riot Grrrl in the 90’s to the lives of the North American volunteers in the Spanish Civil War, the center enables researchers, students, faculty and the public to explore this unique collection within the center of knowledge celebrated in the Bobst library.


CannonDesign found their design inspiration from the unique- and often radical- nature of the special collections. R.P. Brennan choreographed the construction of the two new floors within the challenging environment of the primarily occupied Bobst Library. The unique construction starts at the lighted entryway of the center, which welcomes visitors into an ethereal atmosphere that could be compared to walking into something out of sci-fi film. The illuminated walls are intentionally transparent to expose curations of the special collection and perfectly compliment the clean wooden floors and minimalistic finishes. Inside the center, two more galleries display even more items in exhibitions designed by curators, students, and facilities.

The new age environment is parallel to the functionalities of the space, which required installations of new technologies and the most modern efficiencies for ease in content discovery. The center also has classrooms, a media room, a consultation room, and various meeting spaces. Floor 2’s North Reading Room overlooking Washington Square was also renovated for not only a quiet study space with stunning views but also as an event space for the public to enjoy the center.

Floor 3 is the new home to the on-site collection repositories in more than 17,000 square feet of secure, climate-controlled storage, connected to Floor 2 by a staff elevator. R.P. Brennan met the critical task of installing the 24/7, 365 days a year environmental controls that maintained constant 65-degree temperature with 35% relative humidity. Floor 3 is in the final stages of construction and set to be complete in late 2020.

To date, R.P. Brennan has completed six floors for New York University in their Bobst Library and maintains a strong relationship with the university in their ongoing work.

About R.P. Brennan

R.P. Brennan is a general contractor and construction manager based in New York City. Founded in 1987, the company continues to grow upon their annual revenue of over 50 million dollars. The firm specializes in construction within the educational, corporate, healthcare, entertainment, hospitality, industries. R.P. Brennan is proud to have maintained well-known clientele on a repeat basis, such as New York University and Columbia University. For more information visit our website at