Category: Project Titan

Smart Lounge

g o a l

to transform an underused library into an inviting and comfortable space to study, learn, and socialize

h o w

the lounge area is the focal point of the space + connects the space as much as it separates it

collaborative learning takes place on either side of the curve while teaching and independent study go on at the end of the curve

a combination of comfortable seating and a large working table in the central piece suggest flexible studying and a social environment

DiagramFinal Render _10collabBack Side0116_library_floorplanfurniture diagram

Contributors: Benson Thai + Yonne Hack + Annabelle nikolov

Transforming Frontier High School Library (Part II) – The Frontier Garden


Imagine being able to enjoy the outdoors in a library.  People need stimulants in spaces.  Frontier Gardens will offer high schoolers a small grassy zone for students to relax and enjoy.  Students can also lay in the grass and stare up into “clouds” that will light up.  Students can engage in the space transitioning from loud to quiet noise levels to enhance concentration.









Furniture Diagram


Frontier High School View 5

Frontier High School View 2

Frontier_High_School_Library_View 2 With People

Frontier High School View 3

Contributors: Erin Murphy, Caroline Tran, Casey Wong

Spatial Intervention Through Object, Furniture, and Lights

Frontier High School’s library is underused, so the school would like to redesign the interior of its library. The school’s hopes are to attract more students and provide them with a place to socialize and do research.

How did we interpret the school’s interest to redesign the library?

  • To bring students together and foster both intellectual and casual discussions among them
  • To provide students with a flexible space that will adapt to their own learning methods

How does our design fulfill these goals?

  • We attract the students upon entering the library by designing the social lounge in the path of the entrance
  • Curved lounge steps–that act as seats–and shelves fluidly connect louder and quieter spaces, and separate different study zones
  • The curved object centering the library is highlighted with lights that create a campfire atmosphere to draw in students around the table and collaborate
  • In the flexible classroom area movable walls allow students and teachers to define the space to their personal needs for discussion and teaching

Challenging the Design Prompt

  • We feel the need to remove the partition wall dividing the computer room from the rest of the library, because students need to feel connected to the era that they live in in order to fully operate and succeed in a space. The visual connection to the computers is necessary to exude the atmosphere of living in a digital age.

perspective3_ perspective2_

perspective4Frontier LibraryCampfire Atmosphere0111_interior library diagram voice0111_interior library diagram zoning0111_interior library digram circulation0111_interior library diagram book shelfs (1)

By: Yonne Hack, Annabelle Nikolov, Benson Thai

Bringing Life to a Library

The Problem:

The combination of a drab color scheme and inflexible furniture in the Frontier High School library has created an atmosphere that is no longer inviting for high school students, thus resulting in limited use of the facility.

The Solution:

Our goal is to improve the atmosphere of the library by introducing color and a variety of spaces for different learning personalities. Having flexible combinations of furniture will allow different groups of people to study, learn, and share knowledge in a variety of ways to suit their individual needs. Interactive dividing bookshelves help create a movement through the space, encouraging exploration and curiosity.







group diagram floor plan




Circulation 02



furniture floor plan



Connected Learning


Three study environments social, collaborative, and individual offer opportunities for students of all learning types. By connecting these zones with a flowing interstitial space, the library will transform into a lively learning center.

To see people engaged in learning can be energizing. Consider adjacent areas and how to connect formal and informal learning spaces … Corridors, too, become part of the learning experience when they are active and provide views, as opposed to long, stark, and linear places.


“The space between” provides physical and sensory CONNECTIONS between learning DESTINATIONS, creating a flexible work environment facilitating a depth of LEARNING beyond the traditional classroom setting.



Colored carpet squares define spatial divisions.


Individual square carpet tiles can be easily swapped out when damaged. A more cost effective alternative to replacing large areas of carpeting.

  • Social Lounge: orange tiles create an inviting lively environment.
  • Collaborative Center: Frontier High School blue.
  • Individual Research: lighter blue tiles will create a calm, quiet environment.




Book stacks create spatial divisions and opportunities to rest in the interstitial space.

study nook

Study nooks for quiet INDIVIDUAL environments.


Lounge seating is reconfigurable creating a flexible SOCIAL environments.

modular tables

Modular tables allow for operability of COLLABORATIVE environment

From Library to Learning Commons

Collaboration and Curiosity

Perspective showing research zone, with flexible teaching space.

Confronted with an underutilized library, our design sought to transform that generic space through zone planning and adaptable off the shelf products. Our scheme focused around a gradient that would determine specific usage zones. The zones, Social, Research, and Quiet, would then dictate furniture style, which in turn influences how a student uses that area. The purpose is to maximize efficiency within each zone by providing the tools that students demand.

FrontierLibrary [Converted]

Zoning diagram, Social to individual gradient

The Social zone facilitates as much movement as possible.The proximity to the entrance subjects this zone to heavy traffic, so furniture must adapt to different demands throughout the day. This zone will also have neighboring access to the computer lab and research zone, making it a key thoroughfare. The furniture allows for this constant movement, as all the installations are open and easily accessible. The circulation is arranged in a way that draws students away from the entrance, and invites them further into the learning commons.


The Research Zone forms the most adaptable space. This zone must be able to accommodate several key elements, and therefore has a high degree of customization possible. That space can easily accommodate a quick study stop or elaborate group projects, all with the move of a desk. Through combinable workspaces, the space promotes peer collaboration, something lacking in libraries of the past.

The Research Zone will also include a flexible teaching area, which, while unused, can also serve as a group work room. The furniture in the space can quickly transform to accommodate that change, thereby encouraging impromptu study sessions. The walls will all be writable and translucent, facilitating a web of visual and auditory interest throughout the different zones.


The quiet zone will perform much like a traditional library. This zone will provide for those who prefer an isolated learning environment. This zone will feature more static furniture, and avoid excess traffic. this will be accomplished by use of more static furniture, and less opportunity for connection. Study carrels and reading loungers will fill the space, the individual becomes the focus.

Transforming Frontier High School Library


Imagine being able to enjoy the outdoors in a library.  People need stimulants in spaces.  Frontier Gardens will offer high schoolers a small grassy zone for students to relax and enjoy.  Students can also lay in the grass and stare up into “clouds” that will light up.  Students can engage in the space transitioning from loud to quiet noise levels to enhance concentration.


Library Lawn in Cornell Library






Several pieces of furniture can be moved and adapted to fit the needs of the people using the space. Partitions (like the ones below) can divide the space.


Perspective 1

Perspective 2

Perspective 3




light clouds


Below are examples of cloud installations fabricated by Orange Coast College students in Costa Mesa. They change the context of the site and can diffuse harsh fluorescent lights (or be the lighting fixtures themselves).

31 2

noise levels


Naturally, it is louder near the entrance of the library and quieter at the back. Using this logic, social areas would be located near the entrance and individual spaces located in the back.

Contributors: Erin Murphy, Caroline Tran, Casey Wong

Adaptable Learning Commons

Zoning Scheme

Zoning Scheme

Zoning Section

Zoning Section


We divided the program spaces into a series of zones based on the noise level and amount of interaction necessary for the activities taking place within each area. The loudest and most social zone is placed near the library’s main entrance to draw students into the space and minimize interruption in the surrounding study zones. As students diffuse deeper into the space the zones get progressively quieter and more individually oriented.

Adaptable Floorplan

Adaptable Floorplan


Students move through the library using a series of paths between the different zones. These paths are initially defined using a system of double-sided partitions supplementing the activities taking place in the spaces they divide. For example, a partition between the group study and social areas could have a screen for digital presentations and writable surface for notes on one side intended for group use over the period of a few hours. The other side of the partition could have a pinboard and writable surface that students in the social area could access quickly without interrupting the group using the other side.

Perspective sketch of various study zones.

Perspective sketch of various study zones.

Examples of adaptable furniture.

Examples of adaptable furniture.


In addition to being able to use both sides of the partitions, students can move them into any formation to accommodate their academic and social needs. As the partitions are moved into different formations, the circulation throughout the space shifts according to their arrangement. This allows the learning commons to be adaptable to any event.

Precedent Studies

© Architect Vladislav Kostadinov / studio 8 ½

Studio 8 1/2 |CON| Temporary Library Installation © Architect Vladislav Kostadinov / studio 8 ½

Rietveld Architecture - Art - Affordances The End of Sitting

Rietveld Architecture – Art – Affordances
The End of Sitting

Contributors: Katie Bishop, Simon Van Hees, Erik Yarosh

Spaces for Discovery and Collaboration: from Library to Learning Commons

Following from your quick study of collaborative environments in our first class meeting, we will develop a redesign of an existing high school library in central California.  Interestingly enough, our very own Kennedy Library is going through a similar transformation from the library as a quiet “bookish” place to the redesigned second floor collaboration commons.  The school would like to rethink their underutilized library as an active research space and therefore are looking to the Open Source Learning Lab to provide a “proof of concept” to illustrate this as not only for their school, but a model learning environment for their district.   The intent is to transform what was a typical high-school library to a space for active learning and student-centered research.  This should include:

When building a brand new high-school for the UNO Soccer Academy in Chicago, rather than focusing budget toward a traditional library, this money was focused on an open collaborative commons.

When building a brand new high-school for the UNO Soccer Academy in Chicago, rather than focusing budget toward a traditional library, this money was focused on an open collaborative commons.

  • Research zone
  • Quiet, transparent individual and small group collaboration spaces
  • Minimal book stack area (3 book stacks)
  • (2) flexible teaching areas accommodating 20 students
  • Social lounge area(s) for study and socializing
  • Small café kiosk
  • individual open study carrels

The should be done with minimal interventions to the existing infrastructure, and is therefore a study in how adaptable furniture can influence behavior.   What other minimal interventions can create spatial zones, such as flooring, ceiling clouds, other casework elements?  In very practical terms: Can you did it without studs and drywall?  Can you maximize spatial variation to create an atmosphere of curiosity, creativity, discovery, and collaboration with furniture, moveable partitions, and prefabricated (such has casework) elements?

We will start working indiviudally with a quick charrette of individual visions, to then group into teams of 3 organized around individual proposals that take similar or complementary conceptual directions.

Your final deliverables are:

  • Conceptual Diagram and Concept Statement
  • 1/8″ Floor plan including
    • Furniture layouts
    • Moveable walls and other space dividers
    • Ceiling clouds and other spatial elements
    • Any other notations to indicate the kind of activity that takes place here
  • Immersive Perspective(s) focused on experience
    • Include furniture (for example, 3d files from manufacturers) and any custom elements
    • Identify other spatial elements such as finishes and ceilings
    • Entourage indicating kinds of activities taking place (e.g.: lots of photoshop!)
  • Cut sheets of furniture
  • If you have particular custom elements, you should also have larger scale detail drawings of these.

These deliverables will be delivered in both print and blog formats.

Follow this link for a Rhino file which has the floor plan at full scale.  

Below are images of the existing library we are going to transform into a learning commons.

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