May 22nd, 2010: Busy? Understatement!!!

Been working on flyers and logos lately: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=178700&id=643480422&l=898c930bd2

Group Presentation due Tuesday night about the improvements that can be added to our Uni library after having researched fellow students and staff of the problems currently there…

Law #1: Attract to the library

In our research we found that there were many survey complaints about design in regards to the KG Library. In order to define the possible solutions to this problem we need to understand the problem first.

Stress occurs when there is an imbalance of environmental demands and human resources. Loud noise, bright light, unusual or strong smells, and bright colors, particularly at the red end of the spectrum, all appear to increase stimulation. Even speech, at typical conversational intensity, has similar motivational effects. There seem to be major effects on the human response on both far ends of the stimulation spectrum.

Lack of stimulation causes distraction, restlessness, excessive emotional response, irritation, and difficulty in concentration. And even focused or voluntary attention found while studying can create mental fatigue. Over-excitation is distracting and fatiguing. Strong color, too much visual pattern, and high brightness demand voluntary and involuntary attention. Vivid design in work areas can impair productivity by seriously interfering with work tasks that require visual concentration.

Some of the best ways to combat these issues through design are by using: scent, visual relaxation, nature related items and colors, zoning, and visual stimuli.

Scent: Cleaner bathrooms, softly scented ventilation will lead to happier and more pleasant library users. Atrium pond and plants contribute to the indoor air quality of a building as well.

Visual Relaxation: Set aside certain areas where color can have an immediate therapeutic effect. Accent colors in the Violet-Blue to Blue range are found to be pleasant, restful, and a good object for concentration. It also increases inner reactivation and leads to calm, and the ability to concentrate, think and meditate.

Nature related items and colors: Brown walls or wooden furniture give the feeling of sturdiness, protection and warmth. Whereas green floors give an earthly fresh and cool feeling.

Zoning: Separate zoning or levels for activity, soundproofed areas for socializing and/or gaming

Visual Stimulus: Areas for stronger accented colors, interesting design and patterns.

Law #2: Access to the library, meeting stakeholders needs

Design plays an even stronger role than attracting users but in meeting the needs of different stakeholders. Perhaps architecture “feels” best when it is able to meet an occupant’s needs (physiological, intellectual, emotional and otherwise) on many levels.

There is a growing demand for non-library facilities within libraries now. In a large library, there may be a bookshop, exhibition space, a café or sandwich bar, and even gallery space for showing local art works or displaying community projects.

It is important that the interior layout of a library provides space for reflection on the library material employed. Hence, the nature of the spaces created, how they are lit and the interior views available, all deserve attention. For many students the bulk of their private study time is spent in libraries and for the non-academic user the library is often a place where many hours are devoted to intellectual pursuit. For these users design can function as a coping resource that can help library occupants alter the balance between environmental demands and personal resources.

Architectural variation such as views of nature, open spaces, privacy nooks, stimulus windows, separate areas for study/computer use and socializing can offer restorative design elements that include retreat, fascination, and exposure to nature (which by the way is conducive to creativity), and help with crowding. As crowding and inappropriately close interpersonal distances increase stimulation and can lead to frustration.

Fascination helps replenish mental reserves depleted by sustained concentration of efforts to pay attention. Deeper spaces afford more privacy and enhance ability to regulate social interaction.

Law #4: Time-Saving

Some of the major issues found in our survey results that fall under this Law are the need for proper signage indicating location and entrance of the library, time-efficient lifts, properly placed stairwells and entrance doors that do not confuse users. If these issues were to be addressed then the possibility of stress would be lessened due to the highly ambiguous spaces and entrances because people cannot make sense out of them.

Law#5: Growth

The future of libraries is technology and while libraries will still hold physical books, more room will be needed for incoming machines and computers. Cutting edge libraries are focusing on youth and are fostering fun activities that provide a place for them to hang out, do homework, check email, or even play Wii.

IT sustainability: Make use of compact mobile stacking systems to make room for future equipment. Only one corridor of space is needed for up to eight rows of book stack – in effect saving 7 meters of library provision to use for other purposes. Only one reader can browse at a time. Disability chair access is limited.

Room to Grow: open spaces, forward thinking and adaptability in design, like Biomimicry and Eco solutions. Green architectural features are also helping to make architectural environments more pleasant and comfortable. Future interest is in spending less energy while maintaining optimal comfort conditions.

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