The UC Berkeley Library selected the design firm BNIM to help design the remodel of the first through third floors of Moffitt Library, according to an Oct. 26 press release.
The renovation of the fourth and fifth floors of Moffitt was completed in November 2016. Renovating the three bottom floors will complete the library’s vision of a “Center for Connected Learning,” according to Jean Ferguson, the learning and research communities librarian at Moffitt.
The center will include active labs and studios where students can learn about “new forms of scholarship,” Ferguson said. The current construction budget is $35 million, according to Matthew Porreca, the principal of BNIM’s San Diego office.
“Every person has different learning styles, different ways of being creative, different ways of discovering things,” said Steve McDowell, director of design at BNIM. “The intention for Moffitt is to be really the Swiss army knife of education and really help every student and faculty member be served in a way that best suits them.”
Both BNIM and the library hope Moffitt can become a collider space in which students can exchange ideas, collaborate and investigate, McDowell said.
Construction in Moffitt will not start for at least two years because the library needs to raise money, according to Ferguson. The fundraising target for the renovation is currently $50 million, which Ferguson said might change depending on suggestions from architects.
During construction, BNIM plans to keep the fourth and fifth floors of Moffitt open while finding space in other campus libraries to move Moffitt’s critical functions so that they can be maintained, according to Ferguson.
BNIM is working with focus groups of students, faculty and library staff to gather input about how to change the space, Porreca said. Moffitt staff have been running pilot projects — including the Moffitt Makerspace, which provides access to 3D printing technology — in an attempt to develop services and programs for the Center for Connected Learning, according to Ferguson.
McDowell said the firm is focused on design strategies that encourage healthy well-being — BNIM has discussed rethinking Moffitt’s exterior spaces to connect it more to nature in ways such as utilizing the space to bring in more natural light. The design will also incorporate more digital access and research spaces in the library.
BNIM is also looking into enhancing Moffitt’s mechanical systems, McDowell said, such as heating and ventilation, to reduce energy consumption and increase comfort levels in the library.
“One of my personal objectives is to advocate not only for meditation space in Moffitt, but also spaces for sleeping and also physical wellness spaces,” said Melany Amarikwa, ASUC academic affairs vice president. “(Moffit is) moving towards more of a centralized student hub.”