Architects: Steinberg Architects
Location: Huntington Beach, California, USA
Design Team: David Hart, AIA – Principal in Charge& Project Manager, Michael Miller– Project Designer, Paul Garcia – Job Captain, Heather Melish – Interior Design, Vikas Shrestha, PhD, AIA – Sustainability Expert, Amy Newborn, John Almendras.
Photographs: Tim Griffith, Steinberg Architects
The Golden West College Learning Resource Center (LRC) incorporates 50,000 sq. ft. of general collection space for approximately 65,000 volumes, an Information Commons for tutoring and instructional support, a New Media wing, and community-accessible spaces for meetings. This state-of-the-art facility will not only consolidate campus resources, but also support the learning process by providing increased computer access for both students and staff.
Designed in close collaboration with college leadership, administrative staff, and building user groups, the new facility is located at the western edge of campus, a site chosen for its prominence as the main college entry and its potential to connect the institution with the surrounding Huntington Beach, Calif. community.
Architecturally, the building uses a simple palette of architectural concrete, stainless steel metal panels and glass for the exterior envelope. The interior’s exposed concrete is complemented by the use of bamboo flooring and wall panels, and through the use of vibrant color on both the flooring and furniture.
The approach and entrance to the building moves visitors through a series of transitional spaces. First, they cross under a suspended installation that establishes a gateway to the campus while reinforcing the entrance to the LRC. Once in the lobby, the space expands into a double height volume that allows a visual and physical connection to the library located on the second floor.
As visitors circulate vertically through the lobby, they arrive at another threshold bringing them to the main library entrance. Upon crossing this entry, is a second double height volume within the building. This area connects the second level to the third, acting as the primary circulation between floors.
This portion of the library is highlighted further by the large communal seat stair for informal gatherings and presentations, as well as four large skylights that help bring natural lighting into the center of the building. The combination of these three elements — volume, communal gathering and natural lighting — create a very dramatic experience upon entering the library.
Once inside, there is a natural organization to the various library sections created by the layering of quiet, collaborative, social and private zones of the floor plan. These are further enhanced by the abundance of high quality natural lighting made possible by maximizing the building’s northern exposure. In order to leverage the natural lighting on the east and the west facades, while minimizing solar heat gain, the glazing units have an integrated, expandable metal skin on the innermost layers.