America's Most Beautiful College Libraries
Courtesy of RISD
Fleet Library, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence
Having outgrown its library, the Rhode Island School of Design had been in search of a new site for more than a decade when FleetBoston Financial Corporation donated this Italian Renaissance–style bank building in 2002—complete with barrel-vaulted ceiling, marble columns, and an opulent clock. Built in 1917, the historic space was adapted with contemporary features (Knoll chairs, cork flooring) to house its collection of architecture, design, and photography books in a living-room-like space, especially convenient for students living in the dorms upstairs.