HONORABLE MENTION: 2013 national competition project | Library Redesign #160

Lincoln East High School opened its doors in the fall of 1967, the third high school in Lincoln, Nebraska. It remained relatively untouched until 1997, when it went through its first major renovation. In addition to losing its middle school population, East High gained athletic facilities, its new B wing, and a sunlit interior courtyard called the Commons. In 2009 another renovation project expanded the cafeteria, added a new auditorium, and reworked the heating and ventilation system, adding a geothermal heating component in addition to the new appliances. The East High Media Center, however, has remained unchanged since 1967.

The following pages will outline the various strengths and weaknesses of the current media center. After extensive analysis and thought, I have developed a design that improves upon the strengths of the space while fixing the weaknesses. The end result is a new media center with a more efficient, modern layout, a more appealing atmosphere, and a more student-friendly environment, with 160% of the capacity of the original design.

In order to thoroughly diagnose the issues with our library, I did some research. I began by taking numerous photos of the various aspects of the library. I spoke with the librarians to see what they considered important issues. I also use the library frequently during lunch and my free periods, so I applied my experiences to the task. These pictures demonstrate the major problems with the current design.

In progress

After doing some research, I began considering solutions. I thought about the library at my former high school as well as the current one. I came up with some ideas that I tested and modified over the course of the design process.
These are a few of the ideas I considered while considering a library renovation:
Expansion of usable space (reduction of unused office space)
People-friendly (more seating, couches, work spaces, etc. to make the place more accommodating) – placed in the front of the library so people from the commons can see friends inside and are drawn in
Add another entrance on south side for accessibility
Utilization of natural light from the Commons to improve the atmosphere
Presentation space / computer (laptop) lab multipurpose room – wheeled chairs, tablets with keyboard docks (stored in tables), to replace aging Macs in computer labs
Distance Learning Classroom – capacity of 10 students (outfitted for both ends of communication)
Central librarian center for supervision and interaction
Mentoring/group work spaces in enclosed rooms for privacy and noise control
Group work and social spaces and couch seating zone located on sunnier south side, fenced off with short bookcases to provide separation and deter random hanging out
Condensed bookshelf area – located behind individual quiet-study pods on north (darker) side of library

I began to develop my model by drawing up the basic outline of the library in CAD (Autodesk Revit). I then took out all of the existing walls and began planning out the space. After some abortive attempts to put in rooms, I found a layout that maximized usable floor space while allotting enough space for the various rooms I needed to include.
I then started adding components to my model, adjusting rooms and dimensions where I needed more space. This helped me get a sense for the scale of the model. I made modifications to my original thoughts as I progressed, and developed a workable model.
Some of the ideas I had developed in my brainstorming section needed to be refined, or were unfeasible in my final design. I made changes and allowances as I worked.

After developing my CAD model, I rendered some areas of the library that featured its major assets. These pictures show the appearance of the renovated library.

I started by drawing up the basic plan of the existing library, modeling the existing rooms and the...
This is the room design I settled on. I spent a lot of time trying to decide how to place the rooms...
Here, I have begun to add components, such as bookshelves, couches, and study pods. I am developing...
I added tables and chairs, keeping in mind that I wanted to expand seating variety as well as...
After shuffling tables around and adding some more computers on a circular table, I came up with a...
I used Revit's 3D view function to make sure the spacing and layout of my media center plan...
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While I liked my idea of using tablets in my multipurpose classroom, the idea of having their...
This is the current librarian's station. It is set along the back wall, making both...
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This is an annotated floor plan of the existing media center, showing some of its issues.
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This is the copy center. Most of its space is unused; although it houses the school's copy...
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The East High Commons. This space is used by many students during lunch as a place to relax and...
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This photograph illustrates multiple issues with the existing library. First - the small block...
This image shows the uncomfortable, limited seating available in the library. There are...
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Visible in this picture are the floor-to-ceiling windows that look out on the Commons and an...
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This sketch shows my original idea for a multipurpose auxiliary room. Using different combinations...
This sketch shows the librarian station. It would be positioned in the center of the library. This...
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Sketch of the new computer layout. This setup would allow librarians to monitor student activity on...
In order to facilitate quiet studying in the library without creating an oppressive atmosphere for...
I attended Shaker High School in Latham, New York for my first two years of high school. Their...
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Shaker High's study pods are set apart from the louder group and computer sections of the...
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Shaker High had one booth in the back of the media center for group work. It was cordoned off by a...
Floor plan of the final design. I had to make some compromises to the original plan in order to...
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This rendering shows the back of the library, as seen from the librarian's station. Tables,...
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This rendering shows the front section of the library. The computers are lined up against the glass...
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This rendering shows the final layout of the multipurpose classroom. Shelves in back serve as...
This is a rendering of the distance learning classroom. It can accommodate a small class and has a...
This rendering depicts the more comfortable section of the library. It seats at least 16 people in...
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This rendering is done with dimmed rear lights, to accentuate the exploitation of natural light...