Charlottesville, VA

University of Virginia, Clemons Library & Harrison/Small Building


One of the university’s busiest libraries, Clemons Library is a three-story building with a multi-level terrace housing educational, collaborative, and support spaces, and serving as a popular study area for students. The Harrison Institute for American History, Literature, and Culture/Small Special Collections Library is southeast of the Clemons Library. While the Harrison/Small Building occupies a relatively small footprint above grade, two expansive subterranean levels housing some of the university’s most valuable literary and historical works extend out below a plaza along the east side. SGH investigated the cause of repeated water intrusion and other moisture-related issues at the libraries and designed repairs.

SGH investigated leakage at the Clemons Library’s tiered terraces, the interface between the two buildings, and into the rare book storage area below the plaza. We also investigated condensation and apparent biological growth at skylights in the plaza. Highlights of our work include the following:

  • Surveying the building, documenting concealed conditions at exploratory openings, and performing air/water infiltration testing to identify leakage paths
  • Identifying discontinuities in the waterproofing system and recommending repair options for the university’s consideration
  • Coordinating with the university and developing a phased repair approach that aligned with their operations
  • Designing and administering repairs, including:
    • Replacing the terrace and exterior stairway waterproofing at Clemons Library and integrating it with the surrounding rising walls/parapets
    • Reconstructing waterproofing, expansion joint flashings, and drainage at the areaway between the two libraries
    • Improving thermal performance and resistance to air infiltration at the skylights and interior light wells to address seasonal condensation

Project Summary



Completion Date
Repair & Rehabilitation | Preservation
Building Enclosures | Applied Science & Research
University of Virginia
Specialized Capabilities
Condition Assessments | Preservation | Roofing & Waterproofing | Environmental Simulations

Key team members

Nicholas Piteo
Nicholas Piteo