Hunt Library Parasite

Spring 2016  |  1 1/2 Month Long Project  |  Completed Individually

This was our final project for our second semester studio. We were tasked with creating an addition to our campus library. We had to pin-point a problem that we found with the building and focus on creating a solution with out design. Since this was a first-year design project, it is also worth noting, that we didn't have to focus on the structural integrity of our designs.

I started by talking to other students, mainly non-architecture majors, to get many different perspectives on the problems of Hunt Library. After combining their opinions with my own, I found that the two largest problems with the building were the lack of collaborative spaces and the huge amount of light entering the building. The way Hunt is currently designed, the exterior walls are almost entirely windows separated by exterior metal "fins." The windows are almost entirely covered by tacky blinds because of the sheer amount of light getting into the building. The only spaces that don't get much light are the rooms in the basement of the building. These house CMU's new IDeATe program, which brings students from all different schools and majors together to collaborate on projects centered around technology, such as robotics, animation, and video game design. This collaboration across disciplines is what CMU is coming to be known for, yet the building does nothing to acknowledge it. These were the issues that I set out to fix.

My addition consisted of closing off the exterior windows and adding three large glass orbs that would puncture the, now solid, exterior walls, providing natural light to specific parts of the building. This would create darker, more secluded spaces for activities like individual reading and studying, and brighter, more social areas. It even allows light to filter down into the basement. The spaces within the orbs would house the IDeATe collaborative spaces. One contains a lecture hall, and the other two are more traditional classrooms. However, all are very flexible spaces with modular tables. The glass of the domes also can serve as a white board for group brain storming or problem solving. However, the most important function of the glass is putting the collaborative spaces on display to those inside and outside of the library.


This render makes it very easy to see which aspects of the design are the new addition as opposed to the existing building.

The two front orbs allow light to filter down to the basement level.

This second floor also is a good example of how the bookshelves react to the orbs, or rather the light coming in through the orbs.

The first floor was designed to be very open. The existing café would stay and the rest of the space would include seating and a front desk.

The two "classroom" orbs have second level balconies. These could be used for smaller group study, or for prospective students, or really anyone, who wanted to sit in on a class without being disturbing.

The floors inside the orbs line up with the existing floors for easy access. The floors the don't go through the glass, taper to meet it, in order to minimize the amount of glass that the floor would cover.

This second sectional perspective shows the back orb. The bottom of this orb peeks through to the first floor right behind the front desk.

This is a plan of my design on the campus map.

These are some renders of various spaces in and around the orbs.

This is the sectional model that I made showing how the terrain slopes down under the front two orbs.