InteriorAtrium Renovation, Odegaard Undergraduate Library, Miller Hull Partnership,2013.Odegaard Undergraduate Library islocated at the heart of the University of Washington, serving as a focal pointin undergraduate instruction, learning and technology. Opened in 1972, thelibrary was named after Charles E. Odegaard, the UW President Emeritus, gearedtowards meeting the large-scale necessities of undergraduate students within a universitysetting.Starting in 2012, a $16.575 millionproject, funded by the State of Washington, was scheduled for renovation of theInterior atrium of the library. Led by the Design team from Miller Hull Partnership,the renovation pushed for efficient optimization of the central space.
The mainstaircase was replaced with a reduced profile staircase for further accessibility,as well as the creation of 3-story atrium which increased natural lighting and generatedinformal seating for undergraduates. Renovation development andconstruction increased active formal learning spaces through the addition ofthree-classrooms that were multi-faceted in terms of how and when the spaceswould be used. Addition of a consultation area for research and writing, asurge in spaces for student collaboration, more study rooms and zoned off quietspaces all encompassed the architects/design team’s intentions for enhancingthe Odegaard Undergraduate Library. Entering into the space, immediatelyinhabitants recognize the modernistic style of the interior space.
The use of apastel color palette enhances this experience with a clear distinction from themultiple glass facades, brick wall and wood finishes. The newly renovatedatrium space immediately creates natural lighting that is best seen on a sunnyday in Seattle emphasizing the most public of spaces within the library. Thisnew installation delineates the artificial lighting that is experienced on eachfloor of the more intimate spaces. Distinctive qualities of the spaceare immediately noticed as well. As one travels through each level, themateriality and enclosure changes, emphasizing the transition from public toprivate, from loud to quiet and changes in the amount of technology available.
All of this can be seen from the bottom of the atrium. Where the first floor isopen, the third floor in completely sealed off in glass—a metaphor for private,silent enclosure while still being visible from below to welcome undergraduatesto inhabit the space.When analyzing Miller HullArchitect’s design intentions for the renovation of the Interior Atrium ofOdegaard Undergraduate Library, the intentions and realization are un-mistakenlyvisible if one were to see a before and after image. Proposing more efficient optimizationof the previous space, through the minimization of the central staircase,creation of an open 3-story atrium, additional active formal leaning spaces aswell as a brand-new consultation area for research and writing, more spaces forstudent collaboration and group study rooms and more quiet rooms all and surelydid so.
When inhabited, it is instantaneously noticeable that all the spacesthat were added through the renovation are being used and shared by a plethoraof different undergraduates every day.A few unexpected and surelypositive outcomes of this renovation is the mass influx of people on a dailybasis taking advantage of all the new resources available in the Library. Thismass people density can also be received as a negative consequence because ofthe inability of the renovated space to sufficiently cater to all of the needsof the people, most visible during the last few weeks of any given quarter.Nonetheless, the renovated interior atrium provides a comfortable contrastbetween artificial lighting in more private spaces while natural lighting highlightsthe new staircase circulation and public space. Realization of the spaces camein literal construction of barriers, walls, and removal of them as well to delineateprivate and public spaces and the functional use of them.
Incorporatingdifferent materials to construct a modernistic style in the space as well.Overall, the Interior AtriumRenovation of Odegaard Undergraduate Library successfully realized the architect’sintentions and vision to better the experience of undergraduates whileincreasing the resources available to suffice the needs of the ever growing andchanging student body.