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Students Create Interior Concepts

Students gain real-world experience with library redesign.

Students Create Interior Concepts

Students gain real-world experience with library redesign.

Sarah Segar presents her TCU library design ideas. Photo by Amy Roehl
Sarah Segar presents her TCU library design ideas.
Photo by Amy Roehl

A group of interior design students on a tight deadline reimagined a first-floor room on the northwest corner of the Mary Couts Burnett Library.

“We saw this as a great opportunity for students to get practice producing ideas quickly, something that’s required in the real world of professional design practice,” said Amy Roehl, associate professor of interior design and program coordinator.

“The space had white walls and basic furniture, and the library sought out our students for ideas on how to make it more inviting,” said Roehl, who gave 19 students two days to brainstorm their proposals.

Ximena Vidales of Laredo, Texas, chose the concept of a cloud for her project. “I was thinking how as humans we are constantly looking for comfort, and I wanted a place in the library where I could go and relax.”

Another student wanted to install small greenhouses to bring the natural world into the building. A different student’s proposal included a renovation with a tree-house feel.

The student designers presented their ideas and renderings to a group of librarians during the spring semester. “Their creativity was phenomenal,” said James Lutz, director of library administrative services.

“In such a short amount of time and with the parameters we gave them, the design students pulled together some great ideas,” Lutz said. The ideas “gave us a glimpse through their eyes of what they really want to have available to them in this building.”

Better yet, the assignment was more than an academic exercise for the students. “The library [staffers] informed us they are going forward with renovating the space and intend to pull from two of the concepts the students developed,” Roehl said.

Due to funding, Lutz said it will be at least a year before the renovation begins, but Roehl said that’s another piece of the design process the students need to learn.