In an age in which the printed book is becoming less and less prominent, the library, on the surface would seem to be soon obsolete. Yet, the vast majority of people continue to value the public institution and find it important both academically and culturally. The future of the library as an important civic institution depends on our ability to adapt the program to accommodate the cultural shift of the 21st century. Though the modern library may not be as crucial a tool in the gathering of information, it is continuously becoming more important as a space for collaboration and sharing of ideas. Austin Public Library: Mind + Body, engages the learning process more fully by integrating community rooms, casual outdoor space, and exercise areas into the stacks and formal reading room.
The new library, to ensure its importance and prominence in American society, must support more than learning. It must become a cultural hub that celebrates the mind in the larger context of life. Mind + Body does this in several ways. By introducing a workout area and courtyard within the library context, the site begins to mix the search for knowledge with physical activity, providing a place for the two to seamlessly interact. The small locker rooms integrated into the lower level allow for the transition between the two complimentary programs. This, along with the sunken courtyard adjacent to the lecture hall, helps create a library that can be enjoyed throughout the day and as a place to meet, socialize, work out, and learn.
FALL 2014 // DESIGN III // 6 WEEKS