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MENDOCINO COLLEGE LIBRARY & STUDENT CENTER COMPLEX

Napa, CA | Complete


A master planning process led by TLCD Architecture identified the need for a campus focal point, and center of activity. This goal was accomplished by the construction of a Library Building and connecting plaza to a new Student Center. The new Library Building creates a strong campus focal point in departing from the non-hierarchical original campus plan by projecting into the central campus greenbelt. The new plaza has become a central gathering place on campus.

The main Library occupies the entire second floor, while the lower level is populated by tutorial labs, study rooms, computer labs, MESA, and general classrooms. The building is transparent, open, and flexible, consistent with the College’s vision of allowing teaching and learning to take place universally, and in a wide variety of contexts. Using innovative practices, standards, and technology, the building meets challenges of reducing greenhouse gases, preserving energy resources, while providing a healthy and comfortable environment.  Sun control systems, north-facing clerestory windows, a natural ventilation system, and a vegetated roof system are incorporated into the design. The design concept strongly emphasizes bringing the outdoors into the building, and helps define and activate the new plaza.

The building across from the newly created plaza, formerly housing the College’s original 11,000 sf Library was transformed into the new Lowery Student Center. The Center includes a bookstore, food service and dining facility, meeting rooms and student activity center. The centerpiece is the Commons, a large high-bay multi-functional space that supports dining, student presentations, and large gatherings. The previously opaque western wall of the building was opened up to provide an indoor-outdoor connection to the new plaza and dramatic views of the campus and surrounding hillsides. The café is a major catalyst for student, faculty, and staff interaction.