Interior Design Showcase: Dinsdale Learning Commons
Location: East Campus, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
ABOUT THE SPACE
The Dinsdale Family Learning Commons is a technology-rich collaborative environment and hub for innovation, research and learning. The building offers students a choice between active and quiet places in which to study, with a selection of pods, individual study spaces and six group study spaces. In the center of the building, a feature called the Learning Stair is equipped with integrated technology and a sound system for pop-up programming, tours, studying and collaboration.
The Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program occupies two-thirds of the second floor, with five classrooms, a makerspace and other facilities. The lower level includes the East Campus Exam Commons, with 36 computer stations and three private rooms for student testing.
LIVING ROOM, FIRST FLOOR
The living room area on the first floor is filled with comfortable conversational areas and looks out on Legacy Plaza, an East Campus green space. Natural light flows through windows that run from roofline to ground level, bringing the outside in. The design goal was to create a sense of calm—to encourage students to sit down, relax, enjoy the view, and think.
The carpet in this area is dark gray, with light gray swirls and aqua accents. It has a distinct topographical feel, as if you are flying over the Midwest and see little lakes and rivers. The elliptical lights resemble crop circles—another agricultural reference—and the tables are pond-shaped. Everything has a very organic feel. The chairs in this area are clad in walnut, so when students and faculty walk by outside and look in, it feels like a natural extension of the outside environment.
"This transformation and the activity within the Dinsdale Family Learning Commons will be a catalyst for exciting research and learning."
EAST OVERLOOK, FIRST FLOOR
The East Overlook looks out onto the Arboretum. There is so much nature on hand that the designer kept the interior neutral, so as not to distract from all the green space outside. It is a quiet, individual space to study, versus the more communal nature of the Living Room area. The space accounts for how people congregate and learn, utilizing smaller grouping of furniture that provide intimacy and allow solitude. There are height-adjustable tables that can be easily raised or lowered for someone using a wheelchair. But no matter who is sitting there, they are looking out, not in.
The lower level, where the library’s book stacks will reside, is more study-intensive, which the design team took into consideration. Since there are no windows in the space, the area uses brighter colors, such as pops of red. It features study pods for individual work, which look like little capsules with a light, a desk and a foot rest. There are also larger, organically-shaped tables to accommodate groups of students or study groups. And there are booths available on this level—as well as on first floor—for people who want to sit down and have a cup of coffee or a snack, accommodating for non-study use of the space.
January 27, 2021 | Nebraska Today
"Dinsdale Family Learning Commons opens January 27"
Find out more about the Dinsdale Learning Commons here.