University of California, Charles E. Young Research Library

Los Angeles, California

Project Info
University of California, Charles E. Young Research Library
Los Angeles, California
Completion: 2011
Square Footage: 60,000
LEED: Gold CI
Awards: 2012, Design Award, Southern California Development Forum (SCDF)

Designed in the 1960s by renowned architect A. Quincy Jones, the Charles E. Young Research Library serves as the primary library for UCLA graduate students and faculty in humanities and social sciences, and it houses the administrative offices of the UCLA library system. The building required modifications to support the changing needs of teaching and scholarship, while enhancing the physical experience of the library and making its resources available to a wider audience.

The building renovation called for a design that would meet the needs of multiple user types, expand the library’s offerings, and upgrade the library’s physical environment. A key organizing element is the new central circulation spine dubbed “The Street” that runs through the main floor, with program spaces that branch off of it. The largest of these spaces is the open Research Commons which provides 22 technology-enabled workstations, each with wireless capabilities and display screens, to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration for small or large groups. Other new spaces include a formal reading room, group study rooms, a conference space, exhibit areas, and a café.

The entrance is lined with LCD screens flicking through a calendar of upcoming events and important announcements. Students take advantage of an automated self-checkout station, a laptop lending desk, and even a small coffee shop.

In the new Research Commons, clusters of couches in neon green and orange form “pods,” small collaborative spaces each with a large LCD screen and a plethora of electrical outlets. Each pod includes laptop connectors that enable students to switch between displaying the output of one laptop to another with the push of a button.