University of Minnesota-Duluth, Kathryn A. Martin Library Learning Commons
The University of Minnesota-Duluth’s new Learning Commons transformed the Kathryn A. Martin Library’s second floor—previously housing little-used book stacks, folio reference materials, maps and a sea of individual carrels—into a supportive learning environment. The synergy and excitement of an existing multimedia hub were carried across the entire floor to energize a COST PER SQ FT$35.00FEATURED IN2015 Educational Interiors ShowcaseINTERIOR CATEGORYLibraries/Media Centers writer’s workshop, tutoring center, and research and information venues. The result was a one-stop student center designed to encourage peer-to-peer collaborative networks.
Working within a limited budget, the designers took a simple approach: A minimum of strategically placed partial-height walls created enclosure and privacy for users while simultaneously revealing and showcasing the Learning Center’s offerings with descriptive signage. To maximize the effectiveness of these simple spaces, furniture was carefully selected to accommodate one-on-one tutoring and to promote small-group collaboration. What was once a very inwardly focused repository of reference materials that separated and isolated individuals has now become an inviting forum for learning and exchange.