Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives

The Design Process

Design Stages

  • Planning:
    • Site evaluations, building program assistance, etc.
    • Gather demographic projections and statistical data.
    • Review relevant KPLA library and facility standards.
  • Schematic Design:
    • The architect and owner define the project requirements.
    • Basic floor plan, space allocation and adjacencies, idea of materials and overall "look" are determined.
    • An estimate of construction costs is prepared.
  • Design Development:
    • The architect prepares drawings and other documents (including elevations, sections, etc.) to fix and describe the size and character of the entire project.
    • Cost estimates are refined.
  • Construction Documents:
    • The architect prepares detailed working drawings and specifications.
    • These and other documents are used by contractors to prepare their bids.
    • The cost estimates are further refined.
    • The owner should carefully review documents and drawings as these items become part of the legal contract.

Renderings and Models

  • Renderings are artistic drawings of selected views of the inside and outside of the new library.
    • They have all the extra details to which most viewers respond:  trees and plantings, passing cars, users, and so on.
  • Models are three-dimensional.
    • Models and exceedingly involved renderings are not normally included as part of the architectural contract and will have to be added at an extra cost if they are needed.

Plan Review: [involve architect, designers, library board, director, staff]

  • Pay attention to the details!
    • Does the plan reflect the building program?
    • Are the traffic patterns and sightlines good with no blind corners?
    • Is there wasted space?
    • Are there any maintenance or security issues?
    • Are light fixtures accessible for servicing (including in stairwells?)
    • Are there enough and appropriately placed outlets?
    • Are the switches appropriately placed?
    • Are phone, data, and cable wiring included?
    • Does the casework satisfy your needs?
    • Are thermostats and fire extinguishers placed correctly?
    • Repeat plan review until satisfied with the results.  The quality of your building program will directly affect this process.

Specific Design Considerations

General Design Concepts:

  • Focus on function.  Don't allow aesthetic considerations to dominate programmatic considerations.
  • An open design that will allow future adaptations to accommodate changing needs.  Avoid building too many rooms with hard walls.
  • Keep buildings of less than 50,000 square feet on one floor if possible.
  • Have only one public entrance.
  • Have a floor capacity of 150 pounds per square foot throughout the building.
  • Lighting should be even, not simply bright
    • Avoid glare and lighting that will require your eyes to readjust frequently.
    • Be particularly wary of south and west facing windows.
  • Avoid overuse of primary colors in the Children's area.
    • Children are able to appreciate more subtle color schemes and décor.
    • An over-emphasis of primary colors can over-stimulate children.
    • Supervision of this area is imperative.
  • Include some space dedicated to teen seating, gathering, chatting, and collections.
    • This should not be in or too near the children's area as teens are and see themselves as distinct from the younger ones.
    • Supervision of this area is imperative.

Items with a History of Maintenance Problems in Libraries

  • Skylights:
    • They leak;
    • They can admit heat and glare.
    • Remember they need to work for more than 20 years.
  • Low slope roofs:
    • They leak, especially if they are flat, don't drain off of the roof, or have parapet walls on the downhill side.
  • Rooftop HVAC units:
    • Operating vibration and maintenance traffic can cause leaks.

Voice, Data, and Security

  • Voice, data, and security wiring and set-up aren't always included in the general construction contract.  Specification and installation may be provided through separate contracts.  Work with architect to detail how this will be handled.
  • Determine who will install conduit; who will install wiring; who will install hardware and complete the installation and set-up.