October 26, 2009

Design contest seeks student ideas for group study space

Brody Learning Commons

The Sheridan Libraries has launched a design competition and is inviting design submissions for a group study space for the new Brody Learning Commons. Called yrBLCspace, the contest is open to all Johns Hopkins University students and is being sponsored by the Friends of the Libraries.

“Feedback from our students is critically important,” said Winston Tabb, Sheridan Dean of University Libraries and Museums. “Group study space will be a major component of the new building. We very much want to hear from our users to ensure we create spaces that will accommodate their research and study needs.”

The contest is open to all design formats, from drawings and depictions using software programs like Google SketchUp to dioramas and physical models. In addition to their design, students are asked to submit a brief written project description, including how the space will function and how it might enhance the learning experiences of Johns Hopkins students.

Contest criteria include the designed space’s flexibility, sustainability and creativity. The room must be no less than 150 square feet and no more than 300 square feet. “We have a few set guidelines,” said Tabb, “but by and large we wanted to let the students run with it and really get creative.”

The competition runs through Dec. 7, and a panel of judges led by Tabb will select the finalists during Intersession. But it is the student body who will ultimately select the official winner, whose concept will inform the architects’ final design. Early in the spring semester, the finalists’ entries will be displayed, and students will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite.

The winner—in addition to receiving $250—will be recognized on a plaque noting which study room had been inspired by his or her design. Second- and third-place winners will receive $100 and $50 prizes, respectively.

The Brody Learning Commons is named to honor the university’s 13th president, William R. Brody, and his wife, Wendy. The five-story building will sit directly to the south of the Milton S. Eisenhower Library and is being built for technology-driven, collaborative learning. The facility will feature ample natural light; smart technology throughout; group study, quiet reading and seminar space; exhibit space for art; and a cafe. Construction of the Brody Learning Commons is to begin in June 2010 and is scheduled to be completed in July 2012.

Contest information, including the full list of rules and an entry form, can be found at www.library.jhu.edu/yrBLCspace.