New Library Learning Resource Center provides a vibrant community hub for the inner city
Connected by a pedestrian bridge, the Library / Learning Resource Center (LLRC) at Long Beach Community College is the bookend to a string of educational buildings built in the 1930’s and 1950’s and the beginning of new opportunities for this low-income inner city neighbourhood. Strong formal elements, including a bisecting spine which organises the various functions of the LLRC, play against the structural grid, thus forming a lively entry courtyard and sculpting the relationship to context and the spatial experience of users.
The interior is designed with open vistas and plenty of interior windows so the program can be run efficiently with minimum staff, accommodating budget restrictions while providing a fully operational and accessible learning environment. The design also addresses the building’s geographical location on the site. Squeezed between a classroom building and a campus road, the building was forced into an unfortunate sun orientation, with long east and west sides exposed to solar heat gain and glare. In response, reading rooms along the west side of the building are positioned where a group of mature trees provides ample shade. Heat gain and glare are mitigated by double-glazed low-e fritted glass and vertical aluminum fins.
Sloping ceilings bring natural light deep into the building over low perimeter offices and study rooms. The LLRC not only provides urban students with the opportunity to further their education beyond occupational trades, but also offers a new public space to the community. The building is designed for staged levels of access to allow broad community use of the facility. The restrooms and exterior elevator are always accessible to the public, even when the building is closed. The LLRC represents aspirations for a brighter future and provides access to the latest technology, a healthy, naturally-lit and ecologically-sensitive environment, and valuable resources within easy reach.