HONORABLE MENTION: 2013 national competition project | Library Redesign #025

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Design Challenge Background

Libraries are no longer being used as places to store and distribute books, nor do they serve as place for only studying. With changes in technology libraries have been forced to change their ways of operating and instead of closing their doors they are adapting by becoming People-Centric instead of being Book-Centric. They become community resources for collaborating, creating, and making.

Design Challenge Brief
The challenge is to redesign your high school library and re-think how your school’s library should, or could, function as technology advances and our notion of study and working changes accordingly. What does a library look like that is designed around a person’s knowledge needs instead of only storing and cataloging books?

You may redesign the interior of the existing library space, expand on the existing space, or design a completely new addition on to your school building. Your design should contain all the spaces and functions required for a typical school library – a variety of seating options for students (inside and out!), as well as book and media storage, space for the librarian, computer areas, audio/visual labs, and meeting spaces. You may also want to include a cafe, information kiosk, or a workshop area. The redesigned library should include ideas for both old and new ideas for a library. You should also consider sustainability issues and the environmental impact of your design.

Summary:
My school, Brooklyn Technical High School, was originally opened in 1922. Last year the school had a huge celebration commemorating 90 years of excellence in education. Notable alumni attended the event and, in total, contributed $21 million to finance facility upgrades and teacher grants. This source of money makes it very possible to redesign the library to adapt it to the modern scholar.

The William H. Mack Library was actually redesigned in 2001 with a generous contribution from a successful alum. The process of fixing the library was done to propel the technical school into a new century of technology. Brooklyn Tech, originally a specialized public trade school, was founded as a part of the Industrial Revolution. As the 21st century came near, the school's curriculum dropped the focus on technical/ shop classes and implemented a computer-based system of learning, thus propelling the school into the Digital Revolution. However, with a lack of government funding the technological advances have been limited.

Students at my school are extremelly studious. Standardized test scores are above average and many studetns go on to top universities around the nation. However, the current library does not create a sense of a hardworking environment. There are clear flaws. The library's location (5th floor - Center Section, which is in the direct center or "heart" of the building) helps to create a strong metaphor for my project: In a school where studying is at the heart of every student, it is important to have a space dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge at the heart of the building."

With my redesign of the William H. Mack Library I hope to see a greater increase in digital resources. The library will still bear its classic features of an ornate fireplace and an archaic globe which will create a sense of nostalgia, but in general, there will be a major change in the technology available to students. With the new design there will also be new solutions to existing problems such as limited space, overcrowding, improper use of space, lines at the entrance, and the lack of an aesthetic and modern design. I hope to create an environment that will be both comfortable and pragmatic for the average student at Brooklyn Technical High School.

Site Overview:
Location: 29 Fort Greene Place
Brooklyn, NY 11217
5th Floor (& 6th floor is proposed)

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In the Collect Info step of the design process, you try to gather as much information as possible about your existing school library, along with the students and staff who will use it.  You can't propose new solutions until you figure out and document what the existing problems are.

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Think About

    How many students need to be seated in the library during one period?

  • What types of furniture is used in the existing library? Does it need to be movable? Why or why not?

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  • Interview students, librarians, and other staff about what they think of the existing library.  What changes would they make to spaces if they had a choice?
  • Make a list of those features that you really like about how your library looks and functions.
  • Make separate list of all the ways that your current library is not so well designed (chairs may be uncomfortable or the light is poor, or there are really great outdoor reading areas).

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  • Take measurements of the overall dimensions of your existing library.
  • Take interior photos of the hallways and entrances that lead into your existing library.

Think About

  • What are the different pathways that students use to get into the library now?
  • What types of media are available in your library? How are they stored? Are books an important part of your library?

 

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  • Visit Flickr or another photo sharing site and search for other types of libraries to determine good and bad examples of how libraries accommodate user’s needs, especially teens. 
  • Post images of buildings, colors, designs, textures, or other things that inspire you in this step. Make sure you give credit to your source!

Think About

  • Does your new school library need to look like the same typical library with long stack of books?  What other study spaces around the world are inspiring and interesting?

DrDubnov's work for the Collect Information step:

Summary
I don't usually enjoy going to the library at my school, mainly due to the fact that it is very overcrowded and loud. Students do not generally use the space as a study area.
This is the main entrance to the Mack Library at Brooklyn Technical High School. Students are...
These images shows the usual scenes in the library. There is severe overcrowding and the library...
These images show some of the "old school" artifacts found in the library. There is a...
These 3 images help to show some badly used spaces in the vicinity of the library that could be...
I wanted to include some more images to create a better sense of what the current library at...
Excuse the shakiness of the camera. I wanted to include a video to develop an active illustration...
As a final piece of information I wanted to collect for this project is how Brooklyn Technical High...

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In the Brainstorm Ideas step of the design process, you put some early ideas down on paper that show what you've found in the Collect Info step.  You also might take more photos to show specific new ideas you have. 

The simple diagrams you make here will help you understand how the existing library location and design compare with your new ideas.

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  • Walk around the exterior of your school building and take photos of possible locations for your new library with outdoor seating.
  • Draw a floorplan of your existing library and include it in this step.
  • You may also want to include a site plan of your school, showing where the library fits into the school.

Think About

  • Will this library replace your school's existing library or become an addition to a different part of the building? Will it be built in an empty lot or space?  Will it be underground or built on the roof?  You decide.

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  • Use Google Maps to view and print out an aerial photo of your school. 

Think About

  • Spend some time looking at the aerial photo of your school.  What types of other buildings surround your school?  Homes, businesses, parks, parking lots, or an empty field?  How will these other buildings impact the design of your new library?
  • What types of streets surround your school? Are they busy or quiet?     

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  • On a piece of tracing paper placed over the aerial photo of your school, sketch a diagram showing a large arc around the building to show the path of the sun throughout the day.  This drawing is called a site analysis diagram.  (Remember, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.)
  • Draw other lines on this diagram to indicate the best views around the building.

Think About

  • Based on the site analysis diagram you've sketched, where is the sun located throughout the school day? 
  • How can the indoor and outdoor seating areas of your new library be positioned to take advantage of the sunlight for good lighting?

DrDubnov's work for the Brainstorm Ideas step:

Summary
I wanted to identify the biggest faults with the current condition of the library at Brooklyn Technical High School.
This is a document I created depicting the flow of the space through a Bubble Diagram. This...
This is a document that shows some proposed locations of some of brainstormed additions to the...
I was admitted to Vassar College and I went to visit the campus in early April. These are images...
These two images are also a part of my brainstorm process. I was also admitted to Cornell...
These two diagrams help to illustrate the path of the sun around the building. The images, taken at...
I DO NOT TAKE CREDIT FOR THESE IMAGES. I found these pictures through Google Images during my...
This is pair of images that are inspirational to my entire project. The two buildings pictured in...

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In the Develop Solutions step, your rough ideas come together with drawings and models that can show others your solutions for a new library.

Important! Since DiscoverDesign is about investigating the design process, the other people viewing your project - other students around the country, your teacher, and the mentors - want to see how your ideas have changed over time. This means that while you're working on your digital model, you’ll want to be sure to keep re-saving it with a new file name every few days as you work through the steps.

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  • Draw a sketch or use software such as Google SketchUp, AutoCAD, or Revit to illustrate your ideas.  You can upload photos (JPG files) from your SketchUp model, video fly throughs (FLV files) of your SketchUp model, or drawings (DWF files) from AutoCAD.

 

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  • Consider including the following types of spaces and furnishings:
    - indoor seating area (tables, seating)
    - outdoor seating area (tables, seating)
    - book storage (shelves)
    - media storage
    - audio / visual labs
    - computers
    - meeting spaces
    - librarian desk (place to check out or return materials)
    - small office for library staff
    - cafe
    - bins for recycyling

DrDubnov's work for the Develop Solutions step:

Summary
My "Develop Solutions" step mainly incorporated working on my Revit model of the school and library.
This file shows the two floorplans of the 5th and 6th floors without furniture. These views help to...
This image shows the progress I am making with my Revit model. The image shows the alignment of the...
This is an image of all the elevation drawings of my Revit file. Because the rest of the design...
This is a simple furniture schedule that I created for my final design. This is not all the...
This image is a couple of views I will not be able to include in my "Final Design" step....
This image file shows a quick model that I made prior to the competition deadline. I wanted to have...
I decided to include this image of my proposed computer area because the availability of technology...

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The final step of the design process is to create more finished drawings that illustrate your ideas to others. Remember, your explanation text, and the types of drawings, images, and models you share need to tell the whole story of your project to someone who may or may not have ever visited your school.

 

 

Continue to collect feedback from your peers, teachers and the online community to help you improve on your final design. Be sure to review and add constructive comments on the work of other students who are solving the same design problem. If your ideas change, be sure to explain your thinking and let others know about the new work you have posted to your account.

You might want to share floor plans, elevations, renderings of your digital model, photos of a physical model, or a video animation of your model.

But you aren't done yet! Be sure to comment on other projects in the competition to foster, encourage, and build an online design community of learners in DiscoverDesign.  CAF will also recognize students that provide both encouragement and constructive criticism on students' work throughout the run of the competition.

DrDubnov's work for the Final Design step:

Summary
This step will show the final design of my project. I hope that the next few images will do a lot to inspire and persuade people to realize the effort I expended on this project.
This is the 3D view of my final Revit File. Feel free to look around the model. I really wanted to...
This image shows the final floorplan of the 5th and 6th floors. This floorplan includes furniture...
These images show 3D images of the final model with furniture and shadows. The top right image is...
This image shows several views from the 5th floor (1st floor of the library) of my final Revit...
This is a series of images from the 5th floor of the building (1st floor of library). These images...
This is a series of images that all show views from the 6th floor (2nd floor of the library). The...
This image is a picture of YouTube because that is where my video file is found. I tried to submit...