Creating the Library of the Future
When six architectural firms competed in January to redesign and renovate UB’s Langsdale Library, the largest task at hand was catering to the ever-evolving learning styles of students. There were other goals, too: making the building more accessible and energy efficient was one, and picking a design that would mesh with the campus and surrounding neighborhood was another.
Ultimately, the design committee selected Behnisch Architekten, the firm responsible for the University’s John and Frances Angelos Law Center, to take on this next major step in UB’s campus transformation. The proposed design features a checkerboard metal-and-glass exterior, highlighted on the northwestern side by a glass atrium spanning all four levels of the building. This focal point will act as the new main entrance and, according to Lucy Holman, Langsdale director, will create a flow throughout the entire building that simply did not exist before.
But the changes aren’t only at the surface level. Inside, the library will evolve into a space more focused on learning and collaboration. The print collection is being pruned to make room for things students demand: more workstations and lounges, a computer lab with extended hours, and spaces dedicated to multimedia production. The renovated library will also allow room for continued growth.
“We want there to be a lot of flexibility in the space for the potential of new types of uses down the road for our faculty, staff, students, alumni and the public,” says Holman, who has seen an evolution toward technology-rich libraries during her nearly two decades as a librarian. She adds that the library of the future isn’t one in which users simply consume resources—it’s one where they build and create knowledge.
The $23.4 million renovation—including $15.9 million in state funding supplemented by $7.5 million in private fundraising—will begin in February and is slated for completion within two years. Langsdale Library is temporarily housed on the third and fourth floors of the Learning Commons.
Naming opportunities are available for a number of spaces and features planned for the renovated library. For more information, contact Theresa Silanskis, M.P.A. ’95, vice president for institutional advancement, by email or at 410.837.6838.