James Joyce Library UCD
STUDIO / DESIGNER
Reddy Architecture and Urbanism Group
Lisa Smyth & Alison Ahern
Structures & Spaces
Reddy Architecture and Interiors: Lisa Smyth, Alison Ahern
UCD Library and Estates
650 survey responders
KSNPM: Tom Wesley, Gearoid Murphy
T+I Fit Outs – All the team
Design Challenge and Design Ideas
We know campus life is essential to student experience and that libraries play a unique role in facilitating social, academic, student community engagement and the cultivation of collaborative skills. We were tasked with refurbishing The James Joyce Library, a 1972 Sir Basil Spence Glover building and to strategize how to transform its interior whilst also being sensitive to its brutalist origins. We needed to create a space that would increase study desk capacity from 2,500 to 3,200 spaces and reconsider the fire strategy for the building. Our brief was to develop ‘ Future Learning Concepts’ and a ‘Holistic Ecosystem’ for the building that would form a roadmap for its refurbishment and avoid future piecemeal interventions that do not consider the buildings potential as a whole or follow a set of key deliverables on – User Data Driven Design, Sustainability, Inclusivity, Diversity, Wellness, Biophilia, Conservation, New Technologies, Capacity, Budget, Occupied Building Programming.
How the brief was fulfilled
Key to the successful execution of this project was a user focused data gathering process that we developed via a tailor-made 20-minute online survey that we issued to the full spectrum of students and staff. The survey format was devised by us with the invention of 7 study modes to gauge % preference use. These modes ranged from Study Mode 1 – completely silent zones i.e study pods with larger desks , higher acoustic treatment, privacy, lighting control and comfort for long term study sessions, to Study Mode 2,3, and 4, where desk and screens get gradually smaller, and ergonomic furniture types are mixed to offer choice .Study Mode 5 or collaborative study accommodates shorter stay durations and slightly nosier interactions. The zoning of all study modes are set out on each floor so that the quieter Mode 1and dedicated post grad spaces are zoned to the periphery of the plan. Then we move through a gradation of intermediate acoustic spaces culminating in Mode 5 which is a collaborative study mode situated at the centre of the plan. Finally, we engaged with ASIAM, an O.T. and with UCD ALL to create Study Mode 6 and 7. These spaces are Neurodiversity Spaces for students with specific sensory sensitivity and built environment needs. They facilitate people who have challenges in self-regulation and focus so they can engage in study with equal opportunity and support. ‘The Transition Space’ 6 , allows students to disengage to self -regulate to re-engage again. In this room there are furniture options for movement, as well as heavy blankets and grounded seating as a way of using weight and gravity to self regulate. Space 7 is ‘The Sensory’ study zone and offers an environment that students can adjust to their specific needs to maximise their engagement. Some students like to “temour” their leg or arm so we allowed for adjustable height chairs that have bounce or silent movement in them. We agreed that these neurodiverse spaces should not be zoned to a particular floor instead, we agreed to pepper these spaces in smaller capacities across all floors as per all study mode.
Embodies the idea of a creative space between work and home. The geometric contemporary form compliments the original structure it adjoins, while the warmth of the natural material selection and lighting design soften the internal envelope. The sustainable approach on this existing building and engagement with the wider community is highly commendable."