Samford University, Davis Library

Birmingham, Alabama

  • FIRM

    Ritchey & Associates


    Samford University

  • AREA

    80,000 sq.ft.





Changes in the technology of education, the growth in student-body size and a number of ad hoc interior modifications over the years created a need for renovating and updating Samford University’s 40-year-old Neo-Georgian Davis Library structure.

Years of constant change resulted in small, confined spaces with low ceilings, small offices and ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCO FIRMJason D. Sooter ArchitectASSOCIATED FIRMWoollen, Molzan & PartnersCAPACITY450COST PER SQ FT$78.12CITATIONGold CitationFEATURED IN1999 Educational InteriorsINTERIOR CATEGORYLibraries/Media Centers partitions.

The building was demolished back to the exterior walls. A fresh new interior statement was created by opening up a three-story monumental stairwell that ties together the original structure with the additional wing that was added in 1993. The use of cherry woods, black granite and satin-brass accents adds a touch of sedate elegance.

Centrally locating the stacks on each floor and eliminating most of the partitions opened three floors of patron access areas to natural lighting. This, coupled with the pendant overheads and the unique table lamps, provides well-illuminated areas at all patron positions.

Each of the furnishings manufacturers worked with the design team to create special design solutions and matching finishes. Careful use was made of the Samford red and blue colors in the special carpet created for this project, and in the conversational seating groups, providing a bright, inviting atmosphere.

The new study carrels and reading-room tables offer the capability for more than 500 students to use laptop and personal computer technology, and other learning equipment requiring 110AC power.

Each of the study tables has a traditional lamp, created by the design team, that includes a computer-access jack and auxiliary 110AC outlets attractively included in its base.

Each floor has a secure wiring center that provides for growth well into the 21st century. All areas are connected with an extensive telecom and data wiring system that is flexible enough to accommodate necessary changes, while providing worldwide access.

Cable-television network, group and individual listening and viewing rooms; the Technology in Learning Center; and strategically located touchscreen information kiosks complete the inclusion of technology.

The lower level houses the Technology in Learning Center, a computer access center open 24 hours per day; a formal reading room; the Special Collections department; and climate-controlled secure storage for display of special collections.

The stunning monumental stairs, which visually connect the three floors, are the centerpiece of the first floor. The general circulation station, multimedia and learning areas, periodicals-access stacks and OPAC (patron catalog) units complete the patron services in this area. Administrative offices for the associate provost and library director also are on the first level.

The east wing of the second floor houses government documents adjacent to the reference room. A large divisible space on the east wall can be used for small groups, conferences, meetings, seminars, community functions and teleconferencing.