Williams College Sawyer Library

The new Sawyer Library at Williams College is a technology-infused facility fostering a creative and collaborative academic environment. It was designed to cultivate a rich, student-centered liberal arts learning experience. The 221,000 SF library features a range of spaces, including classrooms, spacious study areas, offices, faculty instruction rooms and lounges, conference rooms, and a video production studio with editing suites. At the heart of Sawyer Library is the handsomely restored 1921 Stetson Hall. The seamless integration of this iconic building into the new complex is an innovative blend of College history and modernized education. In spaces containing original woodwork, acoustic wood panels were installed to ensure that while Stetson is acoustically on par with the new addition, its original beauty has been preserved.

A main point of interest in the facility is the Video Conference Room. This 20-seat room contains two 103-inch flat panel displays, which supply high-quality video presence and communication with other facilities at remote locations. With such teleconferencing technology, foreign language students can chat with native speakers overseas, instructors can team-teach with professors at other institutions, and faculty and students can engage in cross-collegiate learning without having to leave campus. The Media Production Studio is a fully operative studio equipped for video, audio, and music recording. The studio includes multiple cameras, a teleprompter, various microphones, and a studio lighting system. Within the studio space is an isolation booth for voice or single instrument recording and adjacent to the facility are video editing and MIDI suites. This space was designed to allow students of all disciplines to integrate multimedia projects into their academics.

Additionally, the library features 21 designated group study/project rooms, 8 instruction rooms/labs with projection capabilities, viewing rooms with surround sound that include the latest video playback technologies and can accommodate legacy media types such as VHS and LaserDisc, an expansive research commons, and building-wide digital signage. As the College modernizes its curriculum, it requires a facility that heightens the efficacy of programs like the Center for Educational Technology. As both CET headquarters and a hub for cooperative learning, the new Sawyer Library is a major leap forward in the academic breadth of Williams College.


Williamstown, MA


Bohlin Cywinski Jackson


Key Facts

  • 221,000 GSF
  • Budget $69.7M


Merit Award, Excellence in Architecture, The Society for College and University Planning (SCUP)/The American Institute of Architects – Committee on Architecture for Education (AIA-CAE), 2015