Colin Drake, AIA,
University of Louisville Ekstrom Library | Louisville, Kentucky
The University of Louisville’s Ekstrom Academic Library was completed in the early 1980’s in the “Brutalist” architectural style of exposed, rough-hammered concrete, dark brick, and painted steel trim. The University selected JRA Architects to reimagine the interior of the building and create a contemporary, student-focused environment offering various individual and collaborative spaces for academic endeavors.
Three previously scattered information desks were combined into a new service point sitting in the two-story atrium. This consolidation provides greater ease of wayfinding within the space, gives students a focal point for information, and simplifies the overall design of the space.
New furniture, lighting, and finishes provide user cues to differentiate quiet, individual workspaces from active, group study zones. New student service department suites were also added to further define the various study zones and make wayfinding more intuitive. The original building cut off access to most of the exterior glass facing the campus quad, so we carefully removed these obstructions to give every student space a clear connection to the bright exterior.
What was once a dark, hard-to-navigate library is today a refined, modern, open, well-lit, welcoming space that fosters collaboration and successful study.