Facility Focus (Libraries / Learning Commons)

Suffolk County Community College: Learning Resource Center

Suffolk County Community College 

PHOTOS © JEFFREY TOTARO

The Learning Resource Center at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood, NY, designed by ikon.5 architects, is a lantern of learning. This project was initiated to keep this largely commuter-student population from leaving campus in between classes by providing a comfortable and inspiring place to study and work collaboratively with access to faculty support services.

Diagrammatically, a simple nine-square cube deploys the 70,000-square-foot library program on two floors. Portions of the cube are removed to allow natural light to penetrate deep within the building. A central lantern houses an information commons, the collaborative learning room of the college, and rises above the roof line of the library to become a visible cupola on the campus. The center’s entry is at the confluence of major pedestrian pathways that connect surface parking lots of this commuter campus at its gateway entrance, making it very accessible to students. A ventilated terra cotta rain screen, a green contemplative roof garden for outdoor reading and study, and radiant slab heating and cooling in the central information commons are a number of sustainable strategies designed within the center.

The Learning Resource Center program provides space for both dynamic social learning afforded by the collaborative program activities of the Information Commons and the traditional quiet single scholar studying in the collection and reading room areas. Adjacent to the Information Commons is the Center for Academic Excellence and the Writing Center. This program is prominently located as an extension of the collaborative and social learning environment of the Information Commons.

The Learning Resource Center also includes classrooms, a tutoring center, media center, a faculty athenaeum, and the college board room. Public access program spaces, such as the auditorium and gallery, are located outside of library security as to permit their use beyond library operation.