Facility Focus: Libraries

Brandel Library
North Park University

The goal for the design of the new Brandel Library at North Park University in Chicago, was to carefully blend two distinct styles into one building, reflecting the traditional architecture of the older buildings on campus while incorporating a contemporary, energetic atmosphere into the building’s interior.

The building features a three-story tower overlooking the front door and a curved cascade of steps welcoming visitors. The verticality of the tower punctuates the horizontal, broad eaves beneath a traditional pitched roof of slate shingles. Patterned brick walls are accented with horizontal brick banding and precast stone lintels and trim. The interior pays homage to the electronic future of libraries with the look of a high tech loft. The steel structure, lighting, mechanical and electronic systems are visible above open ceilings. Bold colors, flexible furniture, and brightly colored carpet accents create a friendly, upbeat place.

The new library doubles the amount of square footage to 70,000 and increases the volume capacity to 330,000. This includes over 300,000 books and 1,197 journals, electronic access to 2,640 journals, and the following archives: the denominational records of the Evangelical Covenant Church, the records of North Park University, and the collections of the Swedish-American Archives of Greater Chicago. In addition, significant technologies are in place for on-line catalogue terminals and computer hook-ups at every workstation. The lower level of the building is dedicated to various media resources for film, tapes and CD-rom materials. The entire library has wireless capabilities. Also included is a state-of-the-art archive with a stand-alone environmental system.

Brandel Library has become the gathering place of the North Park University community. The main pathway bisecting the campus leads to the library. Students, faculty, staff, and other groups gather for study, research, receptions, meetings, and parties. From the third floor Norsten Tower room overlooking the campus to the extensive archives on the lower level, the library is the heart, mind and soul of the campus.

The library was completed in August of 2001 at a cost of $15 million. The building was designed by VOA Associates Incorporated of Chicago. The general contractor was W.B. Olson, Inc. of Northbrook, Ill.


Brooklyn College Library
Brooklyn College/City University of New York

The Brooklyn College Library was comprised of LaGuardia Hall — the original 1930s Georgian Library Building with elegant detailing and a clock tower — and the Gideonese Addition, completed in the 1950s. The goal was to reestablish LaGuardia Hall as the Library’s main entrance, reaffirming the building’s symbolic and physical presence on Brooklyn College’s central quadrangle.

To address the challenge of creating a fully integrated facility from two buildings constructed at different times, a main circulation concourse was designed to run the length of the intersection between the buildings. In addition,“reskinning” the building created a clean, harmonious exterior. At one end, a grand stair overlooks a lily pond and garden, while at the other end, a double-height reading room faces the Hillel Campus entry. The new library also accommodates new functions supported by updated infrastructure and technology, and fully restores historic areas such as LaGuardia Hall’s Main Reading Room. Old and new are integrated seamlessly, preserving the institution’s heritage while advancing its future.

The new facility provides a variety of study spaces for up to 2,400 students. General, serial and special collections occupy the 1950s structure, and the new addition houses reference services, a media center, advanced technology classrooms, a Faculty Resource Center and the College’s Administrative Computing Operations.

The design adds 105,000 new sq. ft. and renovates 170,000 sq. ft. of existing space with a construction cost of $48 million. Designed by Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott, based in Boston, in association with Buttrick White and Burtis of New York City, the newly renovated Library was dedicated in October 2002. Turner Construction was Construction Consultant.


Library and Educational Technology Center
Evergreen Valley College

The Library and Educational Technology Center at Evergreen Valley College in San Jose, Calif., integrates three facilities including a library, an educational technology center and an instructional technology center. Designed to address the goals of its users by providing information technology resources and promoting competency and literacy, it serves as a pivotal component in establishing a cohesive campus learning environment.

Goals for the new facility included creating centralized services, greater efficiency and visibility, and easy access to all information resources. Efficiency of design was maintained by creating smooth transitions between adjacencies and employing the greatest use of space available.

For example, a shared main entrance was utilized to permit easy access to each of the three facilities. Additionally, small breakout rooms were created to allow for study groups; the lobby and conference room can be used for class instruction and special events; and the community center provides a break area for students, staff and faculty.

To further enhance efficiencies, the computer lab, which is located on the ground floor, was designed specifically conducive to computer use by incorporating lower ceilings. Subsequently, the library, which is situated on the top floor, features high ceilings, large windows and“branches” that reference the community’s evergreen trees.

To maximize the facility’s technological capabilities, technical services were located in the basement to support the campus and building. In addition, cutting-edge resources, including wireless technology, video conferencing and state-of-the-art computers, were made available in the computer lab.

A combination of materials used to construct the existing campus buildings. Steel, wood, cement plaster and metal siding were used for the new Library and Educational Technology Center.

Construction of the $19.3 million, 76,600-sq.-ft. facility was completed in June 2004. Designed by Steinberg Architects of San Jose, Calif., the architecture and interior design team included: Ernie Yamane, AIA, senior vice president and principal in charge; Robert T. Steinberg, FAIA, president and design principal; Hong Chen, AIA, project designer; and Ron Saiki, AIA, senior project manager. Project team members from San Jose-Evergreen Valley Community College District included: Robert Dias, director of facilities; Adrienne Akinsette, dean of instructional technology; and Vicki Atherton, librarian. Additional consultants included: general contractor: Swinterton Builders, San Francisco; construction manager: Critical Solutions Inc., Walnut Creek, Calif.; structural engineer: Degenkolb Engineers, San Francisco; MEP: Alfa Tech Consulting Engineers, San Jose, Calif.; civil engineer: BKF Engineers, San Jose, Calif.

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