The Given Building was designed by Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill in the early 1960s in the International Style. Conceived as a four-story modernist office building enclosing an exterior landscaped courtyard, it was later adapted for laboratories, classroom, and faculty offices. Deemed historically significant by the Burlington Planning and Historic Commission and worthy of preservation, in 1999 it needed renovation and systems retrofitting. In addition, with construction slated for the new Fletcher Allen Hospital and Medical Library, in 2000 the Medical College needed a space for a temporary library during construction. There was also demand for a permanent space for public meetings, convocations, and commencements.

Scott Payette Architects, developed a solution to enclose the existing courtyard with a large skylight, accommodating library needs and providing the grand public space for future medical college gatherings.

The low-profile barrel-vaulted skylight is historically compatible with the existing minimalist exterior. The tied-arch structure has a visual and physical lightness, supported by the existing structure without additional reinforcement. The original rooftop exhaust system has also been upgraded. In addition, design and structural support for future air-handling units and a new roof was provided to allow for future expansion to the building.

  • Proto-LEED energy efficiency up grade
  • Historic building
  • Building Envelope & Building Systems Upgrades including Mechanical retrofit with heat recovery
  • Mechanical retrofit with heat recovery
  • Roof Replacement – New 75’ x 150’ courtyard skylight for Library/Student Union
  • Occupied Renovation

Completed: 2003
Location: Burlington, VT
Size: 12,500 SF
Cost: $2,500,000

About The Author


Scott Payette Architects was launched in 2000 and is dedicated to providing a high level of design and service to clients for complex projects. Our firm serves college and university, biotech, healthcare, and similar non-profit clients who demand creativity, sustainability, and technical skills. Our experienced staff and consultants are ideally suited to projects up to $5,000,000 in construction costs.

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