Tennessee Modernism: Burlington Branch Library by Mario Bianculli

Structure: Burlington Branch Library
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
Prototype architect: Mario Bianculli
Library architect: Bealer & Wilhoit
Date: 1947
Story: In 1945, the librarians of Tennessee came up with a brilliant idea to have TVA Chief Architect Mario Bianculli design a modern library prototype design that could be easily recreated whenever the state needed a new library.

In 1947, two years after Bianculli finished his prototype, Tennessee’s librarians were ready to test this prototype out. Knoxville, Tennessee was in need of a new library brach, so, with support from local businessmen, a garden club, the PTA, and several churches, they worked worked with local architectural firm Bealer & Wilhout to actualize the first iteration of the library.

The design was very well received, so much so that Architectural Forum did a write-up of the building (in May of 1947). The building still stands and although its been less-than-sensitively modified, the original core is still in decent shape. The extension isn’t half bad, but the removal of the full glass windows is a bummer.

Google Street View of the former library building