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

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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.

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.

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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?

asian_sensation's work for the Collect Information step:

Summary
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.
This is the current librarian's station. It is set along the back wall, making both...
This is an annotated floor plan of the existing media center, showing some of its issues.
This is the copy center. Most of its space is unused; although it houses the school's copy...
The East High Commons. This space is used by many students during lunch as a place to relax and...
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...
Visible in this picture are the floor-to-ceiling windows that look out on the Commons and an...

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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?

asian_sensation's work for the Brainstorm Ideas step:

Summary
After doing some research, I began considering solutions. I thought about the library at my former high school as well as the current one.
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...
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...
Shaker High's study pods are set apart from the louder group and computer sections of the...
Shaker High had one booth in the back of the media center for group work. It was cordoned off by a...

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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

asian_sensation's work for the Develop Solutions step:

Summary
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.
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...
While I liked my idea of using tablets in my multipurpose classroom, the idea of having their...

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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.

asian_sensation's work for the Final Design step:

Summary
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.
Floor plan of the final design. I had to make some compromises to the original plan in order to...
This rendering shows the back of the library, as seen from the librarian's station. Tables,...
This rendering shows the front section of the library. The computers are lined up against the glass...
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...
This rendering is done with dimmed rear lights, to accentuate the exploitation of natural light...

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