A renovation of the second floor of the Stanford Law School had to bring together many different aspects and interests withing the school, including the student 24 hour reading room, the law staff, and the faculty support staff. The design focused on ideals that align with my favorite design principles: opening up access to natural light and connecting people while providing pockets of privacy.
The previous reading room was located in the center of the building surrounded by stacks of books. By working closely with the library and the results from student surveys, we tailored the student area to more current working trends – reduction of stacks, more collaboration rooms for students, and of course plenty of powered work areas. A sense of place and a rhythm was brought to the design by making the three columns in the center of the space into design elements. Large round tables were cantilevered around the column providing seating for eight. Overhead fabric wrapped panels provided a sense of place, and a great surface for reflecting the lights.
On the adjacent staff side our task was to enlist staff buy in from both library staff and faculty support staff. This also included a new dynamic of their work place where both staffs would share one open area. Support was garnered though a series of meeting held with key staff members, and a design that provided a much needed upgrade to their work flow, look and feel. By using glass dividers within the open area we were able to provide needed privacy, while allowing staff access to light and views. A room specifically provided for the interaction between staff and faculty was included to help provide a sense of ownership for the staff.
After the renovation was complete, the reading rooms was faced with another unanticipated challenge – it became so popular after hours with the University, that the library had to change its policy to restrict access to law students only!