Kai Gutschow, Kent Suhrbier
Although it is a key and frequently used building on Carnegie Mellon’s campus, Hunt Library is an old building with limited potential for minor renovation and rejuvenation. Improvements have been made, but none fully address the problems of limited study space, limited exposure to the environment, and painful circulation. We were tasked with designing a parasitic insert to address these key problems and further the discourse of what a modern library should be.
The resultant project utilizes the existing formal system of sticks and planes to create a porch-like structure that bridges several floors and entails study spaces for groups of varying sizes. It provides natural light and ventilated spaces for reading and studying; creates new circulation routes between key areas; and adds an outdoor extension to the existing cafe area.
The form and theory behind the design were inspired by stream of consciousness writings about the future of the library typology. These writings ultimately resulted in the development of a theoretical structure based on the workings of hives in the natural world.
This project received top commendations from the studio coordinator and won two studio awards.