Slippery Rock University
Bailey Library

SRU seeks to update the student experience at Bailey Library. The original building, built in 1971, was founded on the outdated idea that a library is primarily for protecting books. The entry point was dark, oppressive, and undersized. The two circulation desks were oversized for their use, and a very popular cafeteria sat adjacent to the entry, also undersized. On the second floor, demand for space has shifted away from stacks and toward space for students to gather and to use technology.

This new design increases the building footprint at the cafeteria, bringing transparency and light to the part of the building that most students will visit. A semi-transparent canopy extends the cafeteria experience onto the pedestrian walk.

Inside the lobby, the disparate circulation activities are consolidated to a single service counter now more open and accessible than its fortress-like predecessor. This increase in efficiency yields to a gathering space outside the cafeteria where students can collaborate or where classes can meet informally.

Given the low floor-to-floor heights, the increasing mechanical demands on the space, and the uncompromising nature of the existing concrete structure, the design team made intentional effort to streamline the space and simplify design moves. Open ceilings are provided where possible to maximize the play of light, and a linear composition.

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