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Library Learning Commons

Dean College | Franklin, MA

The original 1960 library at Dean College is now a new Library Learning Commons — both a student center and a campus library. The building supports learning as a “social process,” embodying Dean’s core educational mission: to teach students to become more effective learners. Boundaries dissolve here with simultaneous access to academic, social and recreational parts of campus life. The building is a new campus icon and a symbol of the College’s commitment to bridging different forums for learning.

Responding to current research on lifelong learning, these spaces redefine and reinforce the relationships between the library, the learning spaces, and the social and common spaces. The redesigned library includes classrooms, dedicated study and tutoring spaces, faculty and staff offices, lounges and a new café.

The design created a new at-grade entry that welcomes student users, faculty and staff. A berm and a monumental stair were removed and replaced with an open entryway and windows. The design avoided new construction, consolidating the library stacks and recovering basement space for new use, “building down” rather than “new” or “up”. The first floor is now a light-filled reading room and gathering space.

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33,000 sf

COST (2008)

$5 million