Final Design

My final design can be seen in the renderings below. The name of my building became "University Village Community Learning Center". Although the area was previously Little Italy, I thought University Village would be more appropriate because it describes the community today. Instead of naming it a public library, I decided on "Learning Center" because the building serves many functions in the community, serving as a community meeting space, information center, leisure area and of course, a library.

My floors remained the same, but I added furnishings to show the use of space in the area. The information center acts as a computer lab as well as a front desk for general questions. In the second floor, I added bookcases, computers for research purposes and tables for small study groups or reading spaces. In the third level, I decided to add different types of furniture to encourage kids to grab a book and read. Many young children consider libraries a boring place so I added different types of seating arrangements in the area in order to attract kids.

For my facade, I decided to add large arched panels to create the illusion that they were one large window. The purpose of these large glass panels was to allow plenty of sunlight into the building and minimize electrical costs. However, too much direct sunlight could damage books, let in too much heat or be a nuisance to a reader, so I looked for shading options and found motorized window shades to be both effective and attractive. These shades can be programmed to open and close at certain times of day when sunlight hits directly. The shades would be used on the east side, facing Ada, up until noon since the sun will be in that area at that time. At noon, the curved curtain walls in the ramp will allow sunlight to seep in at indirect angles. In the afternoon, as the sun follows its path to the west, the shades on the west side of the building will begin lowering. Since they are motorized, they can be lowered in small increments, according to the time of day and can do it simultaneously. The large glass windows will contribute to both the historic and the modern look. From the exterior, the panels appear to be one large arched window, like the arches in a traditional cathedral. From the inside, the panels will appear to be normal curtain walls and seem modern.

I also decided to add a cornice along the top of the building. The cornice serves to outline the building and give it a grander look. I got the cornice idea from the picture of the hull house I attached above. I thought it'd add a historical touch to the building and give it a classic elegance. I also added columns along the sides of the faced which go up to the cornice. The columns were inspired by some of the local architecture which has pillars as support structures.

I incorporated plants into my building by adding a small plaza space on ground level where people could sit on benches or leave their bikes. I researched trees native to Chicago and found that green ash trees would be a nice addition to the plaza. On the ramp green roof, I decided to use smaller shrubs to minimize weight. In the first floor, above the restrooms, was an open space, so I decided to make it an elevated garden area people could admire as they made their way up the stairs adjacent to it. The blue star juniper was the perfect plant for these two areas. For one, it's low maintenance, so gardeners won't have to be going up to give them maintenance often. They are odorless so they won't give off any odors inside the first floor. This species is also very slow to grow, so it won't start "spilling" anywhere.

The University Village Community Learning Center is the addition University Village needs. It is Eco-friendly, has a universal design and is very accessible to the community. Anyone in search of a place to research, read, learn or converse will find the community learning center to be a welcoming environment. Aside from the services it has to offer, the building is representative of the community's heritage from the historic Little Italy to the innovative University Village.


Competition Jury 3 years ago
There was a really nice focal point but then everything just kind of blended in and didn’t stand out -JE
Competition Jury 3 years ago
From your essay, I can tell you tried to incorporate some of the historical pieces into the design. -AR