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MCCarthy LibrarY Napa Valley College 2010

Letter from the president

The new McCarthy Library has been a transformative project for Napa Valley College, both in realizing some of the primary goals of our Measure N Bond Program and in enhancing student life on the campus. Since opening in August of 2010, the library gate count has averaged over 1,600 visits per day compared to previous counts of 200-300 per day at the old library. The library reflects a generational shift towards collaborative learning and the new campus plaza acts as a cultural and community hub for the students and the greater community. Today, the new McCarthy Library along with the recently opened Performing Arts Center are the anchor projects that enhance the academic and cultural life for students, as well as engaging the community more directly in the life of the college Technological facilitation and opportunities for collaborative learning were key design objectives. Nearly one third of the 500 seats in the library have fixed computer stations. These computer stations along the eleven group study areas are in constant demand. The building houses a full spectrum of learning opportunities including a tutorial and testing center, disabilities resources and a faculty teaching and learning center. Above all the building is an expression of our aspirations as an institution of higher learning. The architecture is a contemporary and forward thinking interpretation of the original campus architecture. I want to welcome students, faculty, staff and the community to this wonderful new building. Dr. Edna Baehre Superintendent / President

McCarthy Library Libraries are pivotal in creating a vibrant and collaborative campus culture. In an era where information can be obtained instantaneously at almost any location, libraries have continued to prosper and grow rather than diminishing in importance. McCarhty Library has quickly become the heart of the campus because of its role in supporting the social and academic missions of higher education. The McCarthy Library at Napa Valley College in Napa, California opened in August of 2010. The intensity of use of the new facility in the following months confirmed the unmet need for a modern technologically advanced library. Use of the library went from two to three hundred visits a day to an average of over sixteen hundred visits per day. This booklet explores some of the ideas that drove the design of the building how the design meets the educational and cultural needs of the Napa Valley College campus. Alan Butler AIA, Senior Principal & Library Planner TLCDArchitecture

community room foyer stage cafe stage main campus path

Campus hub Before the McCarthy Library opened, the Napa Valley College campus lacked public gathering spaces and a central place for students to study between classes. A major focus of the design was the large public plaza sited along the main pedestrian spine of the campus. The plaza provides a venue for informal gathering as well as performances and graduations on two stages at the perimeter. Gathered around the plaza and animating its life are the more public spaces of the library: a community room, lobby, cafĂŠ, and a highly visible staircase leading to the second floor.




Public to Private Gradient The library design supports a variety of learning activities. Learning can occur as a collaborative or solitary activity and takes place in both formal and informal settings. The most public spaces, such as the lobby, cafe, and community room are located at the main entry. Library uses are more public and collaborative near the entry point and graduate to quieter spaces to the rear. A variety of seating types and spatial configurations allow formal and informal interactions, individual study at library tables and solitary reading near windows in a comfortable chair.

Support Facilties & Classroms Above

Reading Room

Clear organization The “wall”, the two story high ochre colored plastered wall that runs the length of the library, is the chief organizing element of the library. East of the wall are the support offices for the library staff, many of the book stacks, and classrooms that support library activities. On the second floor are a bank of classrooms, learning resource departments and teacher training facilities overlooking the main reading room. The main reading room is entirely flanked by the wall, that extends out to the exterior as a consistent unifying element of the building. The “floating classroom” projecting over the reading room marks the reference desk below.

Access to Resources Arrays of information resources cluster near the circulation desk at the entry to the library. A building directory, new book displays, standup reference stations, copy center, and the majority of the public computer terminals are in close proximity to the staff at the circulation desk. Beneath the “floating classroom”, the reference desk is on axis with the entry and readily apparent to students entering the library for the first time. Making resources visible and avoiding the “where is…” questions was a design priority.


Investigate Media Literacy Library Skills

Traditional Literacy


Numerical Literacy

Computer Literacy


Information Literacy The “floating classroom” above the Reference Desk and the library instruction classroom on the main floor provide computerized and traditional classroom environments directly adjacent to the main reading room. While the current generation of “digital natives” may have grown up with a rapidly expanding array of information technology, they often do not posses the skills needed to access and organize scholarly information sources. Media classrooms allow librarians to instruct students in use of databases and other information technology. Instructors can also conduct library-focused activities within the library without disturbing others.

Motivation There is a power in a large reading room where the activity of study and learning is apparent. The image a great reading rooms such as that of the New York Public Library is iconic and inspirational. Drawing on that emblematic imagery, the soaring reading room in the McCarthy Library with its rows of study tables is a positive reinforcement of what a great library can be. Student remark that the new library “makes me feel more studious�.



group study

Collaborative Learning The nine group study rooms in the McCarthy Library are in constant demand. With white boards and technology facilitation these acoustically isolated rooms host active group learning, an activity not often found in older libraries. Technology stations at long linear tables allow easy informal gathering around computer stations. A sound masking system provides speech privacy and allows students to work at library tables without disturbing others. The library reflects a generational change in teaching and learning that increasingly emphasizes collaboration.

Quiet study Every individual has a different distraction threshold and some tasks require a silent environment. The Quiet Study meets this need, providing both table and casual seating. Solitary reflective reading is an important part of the learning process. Comfortable furniture located throughout the library supports sustained periods of reading.

Overlook Windows along the two-hundred foot hallway on the second floor overlook the main reading room, engaging the upper story with the activity of the library. In a similar fashion the floating classroom looks down upon the library and shares the view to the Napa River Estuary to the West. Clerestory windows frame the distant views.

Daylight An even wash of daylight in the main reading room was a major design objective. Careful testing with physical models helped adjust the size of window openings in the skylight and the clerestory windows opening into the reading room. The play of light from the linear skylight gives an everchanging sculptural quality to the warm hues of the main wall.

Furniture & Interior Finish Timelessness: The interior design for this project emphasized careful use of cool and warm neutral tones, rich textures and thoughtfully placed color accents. The striking volumes of space, natural lighting and clear delineation of circulation paths are reinforced with simple furniture forms and a quiet material palette. Custom Furniture: The McCarthy Library design serves current and future needs by allowing for flexibility and durability. Custom reading tables are clean and simple with solid bamboo tops, hollow “plinth� bases and a technology infrastructure robust enough to support a variety of needs. Durability of materials was addressed with sturdy, elegant details and quality hardware.

Sustainable Design Features Materials & Resources Building and finish materials used in the library were carefully considered in an effort to minimize environmental impacts. Recycled content, renewable resources, and air quality are all important aspects of material selection. 1–The Energy Star compliant “cool roof” reduces the heat island effect and reduces air conditioning load of the building by reflecting solar gain. 2-3 -Carpet and ceiling tiles contain from 48% to 77% recycled content and meet Green Label requirements for low emitting materials. 4–Interior finishes including paint, adhesives, bamboo flooring, furniture and non-vinyl wall coverings were selected for renewable resources content and indoor air quality properties. Heating and Cooling 5-A sophisticated heating and cooling system reduces the building’s energy consumption and provides maximum air quality and user comfort. The system uses an underfloor displacement ventilation system and direct / indirect evaporative cooling. Chilled water generated by a central campus ice bank system provides cooling capabilities. The mechanical system performs 22% below the strict state energy standard. A one-megawatt campus solar photovoltaic system supplies power to the library. Lighting and Daylighting 6-Windows and skylights bring ample daylight into the interior of the building, reducing the need for electrical lighting during the day. Building systems dim lights when ample daylight is available and consequently reduce cooling loads generated by the lighting. 7-Louvered overhangs allow natural daylight and avoid direct solar gain, enhancing the day light available to the building.

Project Statistics Gross Area

62,500 square feet

Construction Cost


Volume Capacity


Library Student Seats Group Study- Media Viewing 57 Computer Stations 80 Media Viewing Computer Stations 18 Casual Seating 60 Study Table Seating 106 CafĂŠ Seating 33 Library Instruction 50 Reference 2 Community Room 92 498 Other Functions in the McCarthy Library College Support & Teaching Distance Learning Classrooms (2) Teaching & Learning Center Diagnostic Learning Services Learning Skills & Testing Center Video Conferencing Classroom Media Services

Design Team TLCD Architecture Brelje & Race, Consulting Civil Engineers Quadriga Landscape Architecture & Planning Thornton Tomasetti, Consulting Structural Engineers Costa Engineers, Consulting Mechanical Engineers O’Mahony & Myer, Electrical Engineers and Lighting Design Will Baty, Library Consulting Services Sol*Data, Energy Compliance Consulting Energy Studies in Building Laboratory, University of Oregon

Napa Valley College Dan TerAvest, Director of Campus Planning & Construction Bonnie Thoreen, Library Director Emeritus Rebecca Scott, Library Director Stephanie Grohs, Librarian Christine Bettencourt, Learning Resources Assistant Choolwe Kalulu, Media Services Technician Jan Schardt, Learning Resources Assistant Teresa Snowder, Media Services Technician

About TLCD Architecture

Founded in 1965, TLCD Architecture is an award winning regional practice located in Santa Rosa, California. The firm provides expertise in planning, programming, architectural and interior design and furniture selection. TLCD Architecture designs buildings that comprise the core infrastructure of society; from cultural, civic, educational and medical centers, to hospitality, mixed-use, and commercial projects. TLCD Architecture believes that each client and every project is unique and should be considered individually. Rather than a uniform design aesthetic, we focus on 3 key values that guide us to highly individual and appropriate projects: • The People that use the buiilding • Response to the Place it inhabits •

The Craft of making beautiful and durable buildings

The alignment of our research-focused practice with academia is reflected in our work for our higher education clients. Our 35 years of experience with community college and university facilities encompasses the design of new college campuses, four recent academic libraries, classrooms, master planning and wide variety of specialty facilities.

tlCDArchitecture for further information please contact: Alan Butler AIA, LEED AP / Nate Bisbee AIA, LEED AP TLCD Architecture 111 Santa Rosa Avenue. Suite 300 Santa Rosa, CA 95404

www. This Booklet is available for purchase From Search: McCarthy Library Š 2011 TLCDArchitecture


McCarthy Library, Napa Valley College 2010  

This book describes the ideas behind the architectural design of the new 62,000 square foot McCarthy Library at Napa Valley College in Napa,...

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