PAGE 2 OF 2 - Designers Complete Modern Redesign of New York Catholic High School Library











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BBS’s Interior Designer and Furniture Designer, Tracy Hansen, AIA designed much of the furniture based on a system by Palmieri. “We created wheelbarrow-style tables of various heights and shapes. Each has two wheeled legs, so the table can be tipped onto its wheels and easily moved to another location or reconfigured into a larger table for bigger groups of students,” said Hansen. She and her team also designed a rosette-style desk system for the multi-function room. The individual desks are a curved triangle shape and can be used individually or assembled together into larger, composite tables that resemble a flower, with separate workspaces between each pair of “petals” in the rosette. These tables all have outlets in them so that students can recharge their electronic equipment.

Circulation as focal point

The custom curved reference and circulation desk was fabricated by Palmieri. It is centrally located, allowing librarians a line of sight into all library spaces. It seats up to four librarians at a time. Along the wall behind the circulation desk are storage cabinets with a countertop for computer equipment and displays of artwork. The reference desk’s curved shape easily accommodates traffic around it. The height was designed to allow for students to pull up chairs to have longer consultations with the librarians.

To highlight the circulation desk as the focal point of the library, BBS angled the position of book stacks to point at the desk. To further accentuate the circulation desk, the team added a faux skylight fixture above it. This bright LED fixture also increases the amount of light in a space that receives limited natural light as the building’s windows are on the small side and some of them are blocked by the stacks. Two smaller spaces flank the circulation desk: a librarians’ office is on one side and an IT room with servers is on the other.

The overall design of the library is quite modern, with contemporary materials and patterns throughout. However, in appreciation for traditional wood finishes in many libraries, the designers specified Armstrong Woodworks acoustical wood ceiling panels throughout the main space. The panels feature slots and perforations for acoustical mitigation purposes.

Carpet tile was used throughout the library. It has a linear pattern that enhances the pattern of the ceiling and lighting. Aside from the faux skylight, the ceiling lighting is relatively simple. Streamlined linear LED strips were selected so as not to visually compete with the wooden ceiling panels. All lights are dimmable.

When specifying the soft furniture, BBS selected vinyl upholstery to enable easy cleanup since food is now allowed in the library. The team selected two oversized semi-circular sofas as main furniture pieces that allow for interactions among groups of students. One is in the food area and the other is in the main study area in front of the circulation desk. Linoleum modular flooring by Forbo was used to create the circulation path leading around the reference desk and towards the exit. Signage is by 3 Form.





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Learn more about the companies in this story:

BBS Architects, Landscape Architects and Engineers


Forbo Flooring




St. John the Baptist Diocesan High School


A.R. Kropp Co. and Sons



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