Cornell University's Carpenter Hall houses the library and administration offices for the College of Engineering.

The outdated library space in this 1950s era building had not been renovated since the building was originally constructed. The goal was to improve the functionality and aesthetics of the main reference and reading room, while integrating the Cornell Information Technologies' computer laboratory and its 24 workstations into the layout. The plan layout divides the space into three parts: a computer lab, free-form study areas and structured reading areas.


The design solution responds to the flow of natural daylight streaming into the space from the exterior walls enclosing three sides of the large space . A new service desk, serving both circulation and reference functions, unifies the space and is the central orienting object in the library, while kidney-bean shaped tables and red tablet-arm lounge chairs create softened organic forms in the casual study areas. Acoustically enclosed, A/V equipped group-study rooms provide collaborative work space along the south wall and continue to allow daylight into the main reading space through large borrowed lights that mimic existing exterior windows. Curved, perforated, metal ceiling panels under the existing ceiling were an extremely cost effective solution to help define spaces, and channel sound and light without the expense of new lighting or ceilings.


For more information about this project contact Cindy Kaufman, AIA:

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