Project team:


Architects: Murphy/Jahn Architects/USA, D
Lighting design: L-Plan Lichtplanung, Berlin/D

 

Products applied:


Custom designed desk lighting:
fluorescent (long table) and LED (short table)
Ambient lighting: Targetti, Foho
Indirect component: custom designed fixture, L-Plan

05. May 2012

Learning with a view
The Mansueto Library in Chicago/USA – as good for the users as for the books and media stored there

Text: Alison Ritter, Sandra Lindner
Photos: Jason, Smith, Rainer Viertlböck

It is a known fact that people in enclosed spaces need natural light and a view outside. That also applies to library users. On the other hand, daylight and books are not a natural match, given that the UV content in light fades ink and colours, turning paper yellow, or even brown with time. But what would a library be without people in it, let alone without books? For the Joe and Rika Mansueto Library in Chicago a team of architects, engineers and lighting designers developed an unconventional solution, which is as practical and pleasant for the users of the university library as it is for the media stored there.

In the Joe and Rika Mansueto Library at the heart of the Chicago University campus unique engineering combines with bold design to create an unforgettable spatial experience. The design for the library was expected to maximize the use of daylight, ensure the conservation of valuable print material, and keep energy consumption to a minimum. Designed by architect Helmut Jahn, it provides new spaces and tools for collections, preservation and collaboration. Its inviting research space includes the Grand Reading Room, which can seat up to 180, where scholars from all disciplines can work under a soaring elliptical glass dome. This is the only above-ground level and affords views of the historic University of Chicago campus. The fritted glazing allows ample quantities of controlled natural light to flood the library reading room during the day. At night, a well balanced combination of direct/indirect lighting reminds the reader of the qualities of daylight. Behind the counter at ground floor level there are further rooms with no daylight openings at all. These spaces are designed for conservation work and are completely free from ultraviolet radiation. The expanded state-of-the-art digitization and conservation laboratories allow the library to digitize its rare materials on site – the university´s collections include a section of a Gutenberg Bible and books printed on papyrus – and make them available to users online. If researchers need to take a closer look at the original artefact, a digitized version can be made available virtually immediately. The digitization projects conducted here enable research worldwide as well as innovative approaches to scholarly cooperation. […]

The full version of the article can be found in PLD No. 83.

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