December 20, 2013

Redesigning the Library

Lindsay Mehaylo (left) and Mallory Hudak

Interior Design students Mallory Hudak ’15 and Lindsay Mehaylo ’15 were recently given a classroom assignment of hypothetically redesigning Wentworth’s Alumni Library, a space they have grown accustomed to seeing a certain way for over two years now. The two were up to the task, though, creating unique ideas that they each submitted to the Interior Design Career Day (IDCD) 2013 competition where they captured two of the top three spots.

Hudak, who took home second place for her design, focused on improving the function of the library space while maintaining a “Wentworth feel.” Design parameters for the exercise included staying within a specific size and utilizing adjacencies among common spaces.

“Our current library is a massive space, but when it comes down to actual square footage, it is not very large,” said Hudak, citing the library’s three-story high ceiling. “I knew that to accommodate for the lack of square footage, I would need to design upward.”

Hudak thought about Wentworth’s approach to a more integrated curriculum among majors and decided to design something that would prioritize group study rooms to better promote interdisciplinary work. Her idea called for a tower-like structure to be placed in the center of the library, but designed in a way so as not to close off the room and take away from the library’s grand feel. Hudak said that she was inspired by the design seen at Apple stores, which utilizes stainless steel and glass to create a transparent, skeletal look. Hudak’s design would allow natural light to filter through and grant library patrons a full view of the room upon entering.

Mehaylo, who secured third place in the IDCD competition, chose to also place a large structure in the library. But instead of building from the ground up, Mehaylo wanted to hang her structure from the ceiling.

“This was done in an attempt to suck up the sound that would bounce around the concrete walls of the library,” she said.

The sculpture called for two by two square extrusions to hang at varying lengths with a façade made of aerated aluminum. The aluminum, she said, would create many holes and crevasses into which sound would be absorbed. Aesthetically, the metal material would also allow light to bounce around the room.

“It was in thinking about the sound levels of the library that this idea came to my mind,” Mehaylo said, “and the spaciousness of the library allowed it to come alive.”

In order to compete, Hudak and Mehaylo had to submit their respective designs to the International Interior Design Association New England, which organizes the IDCD competition.  Requirements for each project included floor plans, a minimum of two perspectives, material/finish selections, and a project statement.  According to official rules, judging is based on “strong design concept translated into a functional space, presentation skills, and innovative design thinking.”

“This project was very interesting,” said Hudak, “because it was the first time we were able to observe how people interact with the current environment and what we, as designers, could do to help improve that.”

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