Client: Williams College
Architect: Bohlin Cywinski Jackson Architects
While the project was still in schematic development, Milder Office had the opportunity to work with Bohlin Cywinski Jackson Architects on the interior design of a new central library building at Williams College, a renowned liberal arts college in Williamstown, Massachusetts.
Working with students, faculty, library staff and administrators we created four test sites to prototype and publicly test concepts for new learning environments.
This was not only an opportunity for the planning team to anticipate what will become the new library later on, but to also to involve the larger community at the college in the discussions and decision making about the new building interior.
Working off leads we picked up from the discussion with the architects and during visits to the campus.
We proposed, installed and iterated four options:
The Café: meeting spot and destination
The Lounge: Informal with large pillows, low tables, and moveable displays and white boards for delineating space, note taking and collaboration.
Alone + Together: Creating a smaller space on the open floor, this installation explored the dynamic between working individually or in groups, and developing dynamics when shifting between both states.
Islands: The fourth site explored a specific architectural detail along the facade of the building and looked for options of larger study ‘islands’.
Working with the Williams community over the course of two semesters, we collected data and feedback from all stakeholders through surveys, interviews, as well as public forums and presentations
Some of the insights and learning were made part of the final design of the building that went into service several years later.
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Reimagining the Free Library of Philadelphia
Client: Free Library of Philadelphia
In preparation for the new reality at libraries, with diminishing stacks and the need to expand its services and outreach to the community, this two hour long public workshop kicked off a longer collaboration with the Free Public Library in Philadelphia.
Working with the President and Director of Philadelphia’s Library System Siobhan Reardon, and her staff, and supported by students from the ‘Design for Social Impact’ program that Jonas Milder directed at that time ( https://issuu.com/mid_uart ), we developed and facilitated highly structured program to explore options for the new Library ‘Commons’, a 6,000 sqft. space just renovated at the Central Library of Philadelphia.
Forty participants from a wide range organizations and communities representative of the Philadelphia community worked through a series of intensive exercises to explore three paramount considerations for the new space: Space; Experience; Services.
Outcomes of this workshop were presented to the Library Board and became part of the planning process and further development of the space and programming for the Central Library and throughout the Philadelphia Library System.