Architects and Design

paintOne of the major problems of modifying physical space, particularly when you do a remodel or a completely new design, is to communicate with planners and architects.

We have assembled a couple of articles here, but this is a place to add in comments, experiences of your own and resources that would be helpful to everyone. And, you could comment or ask questions on the blog.



  • Ann M. Martin and team describe the design of a high school learning commons with architects in Virginia.
    Ann M. Martin, Douglas D. Westmoreland, and Angie Branyon
  • Margaret Sullivan discusses the space for teens and its impact on what can be done.
    Margaret Sullivan
  • Explore the critical links between school environments and how children learn in a publication developed by concerned architects and designers – The Third Teacher
  • If you are looking for design solutions for the teen set you may find some ideas at this site developed to support a workshop called Teen Territories
Want to do your own re-working?
We have been impressed by teacher librarians who have decided to go ahead and get started in the transformation to a learning commons without waiting for architects and remodelling cycles to happen. Here are a few folks who have done this:

So, what could you do to transform your library to a learning commons for no money, a little bit of money, or a lot of money.  Perhaps this worksheet could help:

Word Document (example):  What will it cost.   PDF (empty worksheet):  What will it Cost


What’s Next?

Back to the Gallery; or, on to The Workshop

9 comments on “Architects and Design

  1. Perhaps this isn’t the point of this page, but I wonder if teacher librarians would want a cost calculation worksheet to get an idea of how much this would cost. Brainstorming ideas is one thing, but having a way to find real cost would be useful. I don’t know if this would be a link to others willing to share their budgets, or best estimates from those in the field, or what exactly, just an idea. I just imagine librarians having some great ideas, going to their principals, and then being shot down because of budgeting issues. Or the reverse, having great ideas, knowing the budget, and surprising principals with how inexpensive some cool changes will be! (GG)

    • Adding to that, I was thinking a planning (like a blueprint type) site would be really cool. It would be great to have a mockup of the space…take tables, desks, shelves, etc. and be able to move them around on the page.

      • A blueprint of the space is not only helpful for the librarian, but also in presenting the idea to those with the power to fund the planning. With free room-planning software (I’m investigating options right now) the planning process opens up to students, teachers, administrators, parents — all the stakeholders. I like the idea of initiating a design phase during which anyone can play around with the software, create designs, and place them all up for display so that the final design team can pick and chose from a whole host of creative renderings. Julia Chambers, SLIS student

        • Agreed. Julia, that’s a great idea– and collaborative software engages all stakeholders in a deeper way than, “vote on what color the new chairs should be.” I may use this idea as well.
          Rebecca Greco LIBR233 SP14

  2. I like both of these ideas but wonder about their application to specific situations. A budget worksheet would be valuable in terms of having a checklist of items that one might think about costing out, but actual prices would vary considerably depending on time, location, and product. I also like the idea of an interactive blueprint, but wonder about how it would be customizable to ones own physical space. I know that my space, that I’m currently renovating, is a strange shape and any blueprint tool that we might create here would need significant adjustment. Are there ideas on how the budget and blueprint features might work? I would think that we would need something that doesn’t require so much work to fit one’s own situation that it isn’t just easier to start from scratch!

  3. I really agree with all of the comments above – both those regarding the values and those regarding the challenges of presenting a blue print or multiple blueprints either in physical or electronic form. On one hand, being able to illustrate what a space will, or even could, look like is vital because it takes the improvement/transition to a collaborative space from the vague and abstract to the specific and concrete. Consequently, costs would far more easily be justified to stakeholders and decision-makers. On the other hand, given the construction and presentation of such blueprints, questions about which ideas and combinations of ideas are to be used, who is to take the time (and responsibility) to determine pricing, and if/how that person/those people are compensated for their time and efforts (itself being factored into budgeting). – Vaughn Egge, SLIS Student

  4. The worksheet of “What will it cost?” is very helpful. I plan on using that as a guide to managing this project. I find it helpful to try to break down the transformation into different phases. There are so many tasks at the library-putting things into perspective, and developing a realistic chronology for changes seems important. I feel like I often get derailed from big picture projects by the day-to-day necessities of students and teachers ‘right now’ requests. Both are important, but often I leave at the end of the day without having gotten to my project. Shannon Greene LBIR233 SP13

  5. I agree with the above comment the “What will it cost?” is a very helpful tool as well as the comments about having blueprints all are needed in planning a space that can be used by all. The comment about getting “all the stakeholders” input in the design of the space is a wonderful idea. The creativity and ingenuity is students and parents may surprise the administrators. It should be a space that all can use and be comfortable in. Rachel LIBR233Spring2014 Student

  6. I appreciated the student comment on the Mind/Shift blog about behaving better at a “nice restaruant.” Good design draws out its purpose, shows its purpose. I work at a school with a beuatiful preschool located ona spearate campus, and its Montessori roots show. I also apprecaited the “what will it cost?” worksheets as I will be working at my school’s opposite end of its design extremes and can certainly create some purposeful design for free. While I love the new and expensively designed furniture, I most appreciated the articles above that highlighted creating purposeful, intentional spaces for little or no money.
    Rebecca Greco LIBR233 SP14

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