The building was conceived as an environmental form, inflected by the natural forces acting on it. Wind and rain warp its roof. Wind towers are displaced vertically from the roof’s surface. The warped surface lifts the wind into the towers, pulling air through the building. Gardens push into its form, bringing greenery and daylight to its interior. The public spaces of the campus push into the mass of the building, registering in its form.
These environmental forces create the sentient form of the building. One circulates through the same openings that air moves through as it travels vertically up toward the wind towers. Public stairs are placed under the wind towers such that the towers themselves form the principle public interiors of the building. The building has neither air conditioning nor heating systems per se. It is heated and cooled geothermally and naturally ventilated. A weather station on the roof senses wind direction, speed and humidity. This station, through a computerized web based control system, activates vent windows in the wind towers, allowing the wind to pull air through the building.
The project was conceived as a part of a master plan for the college as a whole. This master plan foresees the transformation of the campus from a mega structure placed in a sea of parking, to a sequence of interdependent outdoor and indoor learning spaces. The library itself is carefully placed to define a new forecourt, a new west court, and a new student quad - a central focus for the campus. The reflecting pool in the forecourt links the college to the street, drawing one into the quad beyond.
A Place for Learning
The library was conceived as a Learning Commons on the ground floor, which contains all of the services of the library, including the circulation and information desks, administration, computer labs and research stations. Stairs flow via the wind towers to large study spaces on the second floor and beyond to quieter places of contemplation on the uppermost level. The density of stored knowledge expands as one moves upward through the building.
The elimination of air conditioning, heating and typical ventilation systems, and their replacement with geothermal heating and cooling in combination with natural ventilation, leads to a highly energy efficient building. The building is approximately 71% more energy efficient than the Model National Energy Code. The project is registered in the LEED program, and has targeted a Gold Level.