Earl L. Vandermeulen High School, Library Reconstruction

Port Jefferson, New York

Built in 1964 as an addition to the original 1935 school building, the existing library quickly found itself divided between two levels, extremely distant from the students and severely antiquated. This form reduced the library to just another space. The juxtaposition between the space’s lack of use and the valuable resources found within its book stacks resulted in the ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$186.00FEATURED IN2007 Educational InteriorsINTERIOR CATEGORYLibraries/Media CentersSUB CATEGORYRenovation for an entire renovation.

The solution was to open the existing library up and reconnect this distant service back into the eyes and lives of students. The design places different functions on the same level so each individual function can define the next, thus establishing a revolving and ever-changing library landscape. To further emphasize this feature, a flat ceiling was replaced with one that has different elevations, textures and contours.

Each space opens up and reacts to the individual in different ways. This type of movement and interaction throughout the library ensures that all intricate spaces are noticed and used properly. The circulation desk helps to provide students with direction. A pyramidal skylight above the desk helps illuminate and distinguish it, as well as eliminate artificial lighting.

Overall, the new layout enhances the school’s ability to teach. The final form of the space interacts with the students and connects back to the design of the original school building. In this design it was important to formulate new concepts and make them work within a historical context.