What elements of the library help facilitate learning?

Light, ventilation, and the materials (books)

Based on this, what decisions did you make for our designs?

I did my best to focus on ventilation and the distribution of light to make the space comfortable. It’s hard to be in a room that doesn’t get these basics right. Then of course, your program helps provide the materials (books, textbooks). Otherwise, it can be a beautiful space but with not worth inside it. 

From a designer’s perspective, what is the most important element in a library?

Window views are natural light are key. I don’t feel spaces that are completely enclosed are good stimulation for kids. If natural views can be maintained, they should be. If they can’t, then artificial stimulation like signage, graphics, and interesting furniture design should be emphasized.

How did you pick the various elements of your design?

I chose materials that are long lasting (metal and wood) because the Foundation has a long term commitment with these schools. I tried keeping it contemporary sot hat it gave the kids an impression of the future – something out of the box that challenges their status quo.

The colours were inspired by the Field-Marsham Foundation’s logo of blues, greys and whites. I kept all of the leisure reading areas close to outdoor windows to take advantage of natural lighting. This helps kids feel like they are out of their physical library and somewhere in their imagination, somewhere where the books take them.

The quality of the furniture is paramount, as this represents the Foundation and is the first and most immediate impression the kids get of the Foundation. They need to feel like the Foundation is something to aspire to, a serious commitment to their future, and an intense interest in who these kids will eventually become.

What would your ideal library encompass if the budget was unlimited?

Outdoor reading and studying facilities. I would have a space that incorporates the outdoors with the interior.

If costs were a constraint, what is the first element you would remove from a library design?

I would maybe reduce the size so that it is just shelving, and then the kids go outside to study and read. Furniture in libraries here tends to be quite rudimentary and basic, so that is a tricky one to answer.