The Julian Street Library, a newly renovated library in a 1960s modernist building at Princeton University, transforms a 3.100 SF reading room into a state-of-the art multimedia learning environment. Situated between a residential college and the main campus center, the library acts as a hub for undergraduate students on their way to the central campus. Recognizing that with the advent of digital technologies libraries are multipurpose spaces that sponsor study and social interaction, our design reconceives the refurbished library as a wired environment where students can work, lounge, and socialize day and night. Our solution solves the dual challenge of improving circulation between the vestibule and campus, as well as between the vestibule and library, by allowing the vestibule and library to overlap. We removed an existing demising brick wall, and taking inspiration from the Laurentian Library in Florence, brought the library into the vestibule by way of a dynamic ramp that pours into this previously underutilized space. No longer simply a threshold, the vestibule is now a space where students study, relax, and socialize. A series of terraced benches activate the vestibule and provide access to a communal library table and computer terminals located at the summit. The ramp then ushers students into the main library which is divided into two activity zones differentiated by color and materials.
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