Designing a library that is more than the norm
Grand Valley State University (GVSU) envisioned a library that was inspired by the needs of today’s students and the evolving skills they would require for the rest of their lives. Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons—a true shift in library creation—is designed to connect the library more closely to student learning and success. So how do we design a library that meets the need for browsable materials with a desirable study and collaboration space?
The face of the learning commonsThe building is sheathed in natural stonework, echoing a deep appreciation for Grand Valley’s architectural context. The stone rebuilds the lost characteristics of the location: a once heavily wooded site cascading through deep ravines to the banks of the Grand River. With a 40-foot glass curtain wall, the library looks out onto the campus—and the campus looks back inside. During the day, the building is filled with natural light through the massive windows and a number of punched windows on other exterior walls. At night, the building becomes a beacon, a transparent hive of activity that draws users inside.
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