interiors | PRODUCT IN PLACEMENT | By Robert Nieminen | Images courtesy of Tom Holdsworth
32 interiors+sources september2018 interiorsandsources.com
A new school library embraces the maker
trend and engages students to help them
develop skills for the future.
There is a lot to be said about the maker culture and the creativity that it fosters. But perhaps one of the most valuable outcomes that have resulted from this trend is the level of engagement maker spaces offer to people who utilize them.
For North Stafford High School in Stafford, Virginia, engaging students with its
previously neglected library was among the main goals of a recent renovation led
by Stantec. Including a maker space where students can experiment and explore
new ideas was one of the ways the client’s goals were accomplished.
“Libraries have latched onto this [maker] trend as a way to really engage the
community,” said Gwen Morgan, associate, senior interior design at Stantec. “In
education, for example, all this access to information through technology starts to
drive the conversation about what do we want our students to learn if facts and
figures are so readily available? We see the focus on collaboration, on inventing,
on innovation, on working together, and that all of these factors have become
more highly valued as educational outcomes for students. The makerspace has
really provided a good setting to develop those skills.”
To that end, the design team at Stantec involved students, faculty, and admin-
istrators in an interactive planning and design process to help envision a library
that fit a robust program using limited existing space, while also being adapt-
able and flexible for today’s and tomorrow’s students. Stantec even led tours of
two higher education libraries and surveyed both students and teachers to help
establish a clear direction for the new library.
One of the higher education libraries they visited included a maker space,
which excited the students who attended the tour, according to Kyle Hopkins,
project manager at Stantec. “The students who were part of that were really
excited about going into this space and understanding what they could do there.
It’s really a kind of studio where they can explore, handle, create, and test things
out […] and so we knew from the tour that the maker space is a resource that
we definitely wanted to incorporate into the project itself,” he said.
Hopkins noted that rather than simply trying to fill a classroom with tools and
industrial tables, the design team wanted the space to be creative and playful for
students. As such, Stantec made several design decisions to encourage inspiration, such as: ➤