Spaces that encourage Communication: Design for a Public Library


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Virginia Tech


Public libraries have changed tremendously. Libraries used to be places with an organized collection of documents that people would visit and read quietly. However, with the development of digital technology, people are now able to conveniently access the same information from home or elsewhere. Instead of a storehouse of knowledge, a library is now a community center. Preschoolers attend story time with their parents and adults come with friends for entertainment and events. Nowadays, libraries have become a gathering place for social, leisure, self-education and learning activities.

In this thesis, I am exploring how to design spaces which can encourage communication between people. According to Jan Gehl's book, Cities for People, watching, listening and experiencing others is the beginning of social communication. After studying precedents, I summarized basic space prototypes which promote communication and then applied them to the design of a large urban public library on a site in Arlington, Virginia. By translating the different prototypes into the design, the resulting building provides spaces with different scales, levels of privacy and qualities to fulfill a wide range of individual needs.



Library, Communication, Public, Private