Opened in Fall 2008, the Peter B. Lewis Library was designed to be a library of the future. Designed by Frank Gehry and largely devoid of books, the building was intended to foster work and study and to focus on digital resources. So, how does it measure up?
When the Lewis Library first opened, I was thrilled. The library was delightfully close to all of my classes and could be used as a study space in between lectures. The deliciously bright colors a welcome departure from some of the University's other buildings which have more predictable color schemes.
The library itself has managed to acquire a comfortable feeling. The rooms are carpeted and squishy, colorful chairs and couches are abundant... actually, I take that back. Colorful, but not always too squishy. (I have a secret plan to grow gold locks and test out chairs and couches across the University.)
The rooms in the library make for particularly nice study spaces. The Treehouse and third and fourth floors are noteworthy. They're all thrillingly well-lit... by the sun... which especially lights up the fourth floor throughout the day, ocassionally blinding a student or at least melting a laptop.
I must say, I don't really have many complaints against this building, which has served me well until now. The north entrance is interesting because who doesn't want to walk up and down (or down and up) stairs unnecessarily when exiting and entering the building.
My only real concern is how the building will stand the test of time. As the weather warms, snow and ice falling onto the glass roofs strikes fear into the hearts of all those who can hear, especially those below. And for those who aren't aware, Gehry doesn't have the best track record on roof quality.
In brief: Love — Curvy ceilings, well-lit rooms, garish color choice, and the modern take on a library. Hate — That one time they couldn't figure out how to turn off the fire alarm (shout out to those who stood in the cold) and those unfinished cement columns with wood imprints not smoothed over. Verdict — Great place to study and excellent for group work. And barring any cave-ins, an exemplar of the direction in which libraries are headed.