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University of Nebraska Dinsdale Family Learning Commons exterior, a 2 story building with glass windows and cement overhang
University of Nebraska, Dinsdale Family Learning Commons

Library Transformed for Modern Learning

Project Location

Lincoln, NE

Client

University of Nebraska Lincoln

Area

54,000 SF

Awards

AIA Nebraska, 2021 Architecture Honor Award

The Dinsdale Family Learning Commons renovation redefines this University of Nebraska library from a place of quiet study and information storage to an interactive student gathering place that is a beacon for campus activity. Our design opens the exterior façade to directly connect to the outdoor plaza and provides glimpses into and through the building, providing sunlight during the day and enabling the building to shine throughout the evening.

The interior spaces are connected and energized by the centralized, multi-story student activity spaces which organize around highly flexible and easily reconfigurable ‘nodes’ that can accommodate small and large groups. Flexible spaces such as the learning commons, “ask-us” zone, café, presentation room, gallery, and outdoor learning spaces are located in the interstitial areas which naturally creates energy and movement throughout the building. The reading room, offices, project rooms, and testing center offer a quieter structured environment as a backdrop to the action of the other open spaces.

The project also houses the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneur Center – an incubator studio that provides resources and collaboration space for students to test new and innovative ideas for start-up businesses and The Rural Futures Institute which mobilizes the diverse resources of the University of Nebraska and its partners to support rural communities and regions. We provided architecture; structural, civil, and electrical engineering; and fundraising assistance in collaboration with Stantec who served as library design and program review consultant.

Learning Commons

The 54,000-SF renovation contains a library, café, gallery, presentation and reading rooms, project room, and a testing center. The project houses the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneur Center - an incubator studio that provides resources and collaboration space for students to test new and innovative ideas for start-up businesses. It also holds the Rural Futures Institute which mobilizes the diverse resources of the University of Nebraska and its partners to support rural communities and regions.

Learning Commons

01
Integration

Connecting the Student Experience

The new transparent façade reveals the activities within the building and connects users to the outside environs. A three-story light well was cut into the center of the building and ringed with circulation and gathering spaces that enliven the overall experience of the building.

Triple height view with learning spaces on either side of a glass walled conference room with U shaped table facing screen
2 red seats in large atrium area with glass balcony separating from stairs. White room with wood paneling behind with seating
02
Community

Embedded Programs

Strategically embedding emerging programs into the building, such as the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneur Program featured here, the Learning Commons becomes a centralized hub for additional activity.

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