D. H. Hill spaces win prestigious design showcase


(Raleigh, N.C.) ”The renovation of the west wing of North Carolina State University's D. H. Hill Library has been recognized in multiple categories in the prestigious Library Design Showcase 2012 . Held by American Libraries , the magazine of the American Library Association , the annual design review honors what the ALA considers the best in new and renovated library facilities. 

The NCSU Libraries' spaces were called out for praise in three of the design showcase categories: The Outdoor Library , Technology Enabled Spaces , and Collaborative Learning .

With two million visits a year and the ability to seat less than 5% of the university's student body, the NCSU Libraries is often in danger of being overrun by it own success in providing students with inspiring, technology-rich spaces, especially since the popular Learning Commons opened in the east wing in 2007. Over the past two years, the Libraries has seized the opportunity to transform a lackluster area in the west wing that formerly housed print periodicals and traditional seating into a vibrant collaboration and study community with over 13,600 square feet of adventurous spaces.

A bold use of furnishings, a flood of natural light, open sight lines throughout the area, and easy access to the technologies that NC State University's digitally savvy students need have made the transformed area an instant favorite. The project has also allowed the Libraries to trial the sorts of creative spaces, furnishings and immersive technologies that will be at the core of the university's new James B. Hunt Jr. Library when it opens in early 2013, a library designed to be nothing less than the best learning and collaborative space in the country.

Spaces that the American Libraries Design Showcase recognized include:

  • The Technology Sandbox
    Giving a taste of what is to come with the new Hunt Library, the Technology Sandbox lets students and faculty put their talents to work on the large-scale, multi-touch display and gesture-based computing technologies that are revolutionizing the visualization of data and the creation of digital media. The space is also equipped with a variety of interactive, multi-touch tables, gaming stations, and whiteboards.
  • The Terrace
    Built in 1954 as the university's student union, the west wing of the D. H. Hill Library hosted dances that often spilled out onto the outdoor terrace. After sitting vacant for decades, the Terrace now provides 54 seats at tables and colorful lounge chairs, with power outlets around the entire space, including in the railing.
  • The Silent Reading Room
    Transforming space that once held print periodicals, the Silent Reading Room provides 70 quiet seats for individual study. This room is defined by a new interior glass wall and rows of white, marble-topped tables. New power outlets in the glass wall and new floor boxes provide access to power. The original exterior glass wall was replaced with new, energy-efficient glazing, allowing views across the campus's central quad.

The NCSU Libraries' west wing renovation will also be featured in the March/April print edition of American Libraries magazine and in the Spring Digital Supplement, which will be e-mailed to ALA members in April.