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James Madison University

Location Harrisonburg, Virginia

In its College of Integrated Science and Technology (CISAT), James Madison University launched an innovative educational program designed for students interested in both the details of science and technology and its impact on society.

This science and technology library located on James Madison University’s East Campus was specifically designed to reflect the many activities served by the modern library. The primary objective was to create a learning commons that encourages interaction, individual and group study while offering easy access to collections and information resources. The design intent was to: 1. Create an inviting learning commons for this rapidly growing campus; 2. Provide spaces that foster collaborative and individual study methods; and 3. Establish an entry threshold and defined north edge for the campus

The design for the new library is a direct reflection of the desired interface between students, librarians and information resources in a learning commons environment. Services and collections stem around the main entrance which is on axis with the existing campus buildings along the north side of the East Campus. Controlled daylight and framed views are made possible by carefully placed apertures, clerestories and the placement of a covered walkway facing a mature grove of trees to the south.

A series of open learning trays spiraling up from the entrance offers progressively smaller and quieter floors, providing a variety of social habitats to support individual and collaborative study methods. Stairs linking each level are deliberately separated to encourage interaction. A reading room and balcony overlooks the main (west) campus. These activity spaces are expressed in the building’s exterior to attract students and create a distinctive threshold and contextual edge to the campus.

The new $22 million, 108,000 SF library houses an Information Commons, four large computer labs and lecture rooms. The project includes a 40-seat foodservice facility among 40 group study areas that encourage collaborative work among students, faculty and community. The library houses over 107,000 stacks for volumes and periodicals.

Project Details

Project Cost $22,000,000
Square Footage 108,000
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