A Tale of Two Libraries: Design and Behavior

During my trip to Seattle I took a stroll through the University of Washington campus. Two of the buildings I visited were libraries with vastly different designs and respective purposes. The first is the Allen Library first floor commons, designed by DLR Group, which consists of mobile furniture, bright colors, and embedded technology. It is clearly a place for flexibility and collaboration. The other space was the Suzzallo Library Reading Room. Self-described by the University as "Hogwarts meets Silence" it's cathedral-like designs encourages deep-thinking, independent study, and is simply regal. Both indicate evolving needs in libraries today - more space for collaborative learning while maintaining and embracing space for focus.

Neither space needs signage to communicate their intended purpose. Their juxtaposition is a perfect example of how design impacts how we behave.

Here are some other photos from the UW library tour: