The Learning Resource Center at Suffolk County Community College is a lantern of learning. The building is a prism for illuminating the interior spaces during the day and a beacon for illuminating the campus during the night. A simple nine square cube deploys the 70,000 square foot library program on two floors. Portions of the cube are removed to allow natural light to penetrate deep within the building, thus a majority of spaces have access to day light and view. A central lantern houses an information commons, the collaborative learning room of the college, and rises above the roof line of the library to become a visible cupola on the campus. The lantern can be clearly seen from any part of the academic mall and from the east and west commuter parking lots.
The Learning Resource Center siting reinforces the masterplan and places the Center’s entry at the confluence of major pedestrian pathways that connect surface parking lots of this commuter campus at its gateway entrance. The exterior is a ventilated terra cotta rain screen façade. The white terra cotta distinguishes this central facility from its surrounding red brick campus neighbors and is one of a series of design strategies used to achieve a more sustainable building. A portion of the second floor is removed on the south side to create a green contemplative roof garden for outdoor reading and study while also reducing storm water requirements. Radiant slab heating and cooling in the central information commons beneath the lantern efficiently provides comfort to the patrons without heating and cooling the entire volume.
The Learning Resource Center program provides space for both dynamic social learning afforded by the collaborative program activities of the Information Commons and the traditional quiet single scholar studying in the collection and reading room areas.