Massachusetts Maritime Academy Library Modernization
Buzzards Bay, MA
The Massachusetts Maritime Academy recognized that an upgraded library was important to support its core academic mission and enable improved utilization of this valuable campus resource.
Although the basic configuration had not changed in 30 years, the way students use libraries and information has evolved tremendously. Furthermore, after 115 years as an undergraduate organization, the Academy recognized the need for resources to support its Master’s level programs. There was consensus on the right formula to attract students into the building and provide easy, convenient access to the newest ideas and latest technologies. With this thinking in mind, the Academy embarked upon a program to upgrade the facility to contemporary standards, address significant maintenance and repair problems, and meet regulatory requirements. The goal was to transform the library into an active learning space, called an “Information Commons.”
We worked with the project architects to locate the building, respecting its sight lines and relation to the campus academic core and residence halls. Our site design looks beyond the library’s immediate site and considers views to the water and other campus buildings. Our primary challenge was the need to integrate the site’s complex circulation patterns and create a harmonious outdoor gathering space to accommodate a range of uses, from formal military exercises to informal student gathering areas. The varied angles in the geometry of the new and existing buildings presented challenges in the making of a harmonious outdoor gathering space. We employed a fan pattern in the plaza which unifies adjacent residential and academic areas of campus while also providing a staging area for the parade ground. We worked with the project architects to prepare contract documents and to provide construction phase services.