Futuristic Environments Designed for Education
By Camilo A. Angulo
Visitor Scholar at North Carolina State University
In the past three years, thousands of books that were part of the traditional library “D. H. Hill” of NC State University, were packed to be moved to the new library “James B. Hunt Jr.” home of the latest technologies to imaginative and collaborative work, located on Centennial Campus, which opened in January 2013.
After talking with some faculty, the most important aspect about the experience of moving was leaving large empty halls of the old library over several floors. This created a unique opportunity to experiment with innovative spaces and furniture designed for studio environments -next generation learning spaces-. Some of these ideas were implemented in the new library with the purpose of transporting students and teachers over time and space.
Beyond a Library
One of the most significant experiences I have had as a visiting professor at NCSU, has been the opportunity to discovering what is considered by TIME
Tech "The future of libraries" or the "Imaginarium" books. The Hunt library, designed by the firm of architects Brinkley Cease and Lee Pearce received the national award "ALA Library Building Award 2013".
The library consists of five floors with an auditorium, common coffee grounds, daycare for nursing mothers, interactive exhibits, iPearl immersion theater, rain garden reading lounge, group study rooms, game lab, printing & production center, visualization lab , creativity studio, graduate student commons, media production studios, music rooms, usability lab, oval view reading lounge, among other places. But above all, my favorite is a unique robotic room called “Book-Bot.” This robot has the capacity to administer two million volumes books.
The experience to tour the library goes from feeling in a technology store, to being inside a box of colors, or a spectator at a modern art museum. Every few steps the visitor has to stop and admire the furniture that consists in innovated types of chairs, desks, boards, divisions and technology that interact among the users. The flexibility of these type of spaces permit the students to embrace either a high volume of academic research or just find a moment of relaxation by enjoying the scenery.