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UCLA Information Studies Conservation Center

“The news of the death of libraries has been greatly exaggerated.”


The UCLA Library System is home to over 11 million volumes of books, publications and data. Stenfors Architects was commissioned for several Library projects in 2016. Their history with UCLA Library projects dates back to the design of the Young Research Library Project in 2006 and seismic renovation for the Clark Library in 2009.


In 2016, the Geffen Academy project triggered UCLA to quickly relocate many critical UCLA Library programs from the Kinross Buildings. Analogous to the Matrix, a UCLA student studying in a Powell carrel would have to take the red pill to experience the behind the scenes maneuverings that operate the library system.


These behind the scenes library programs comprise structured services dedicated to the timely flow of new and preserved library information. As one can surmise in our digital age, the librarians and conservators acquire, restore and catalog the information in a cornucopia of types and forms. The objects can be literally anything from the donated archives of dignitaries to the latest trend on the Blockchain.


As a result of an earlier relocation project whereby portions of the existing Life Sciences Building (LSB) were moved to the new Terasaki building, space was made available for the library.


Type: Institutional, Library, Laboratory

Programming and Renovation: 8850 SF
Architecture: Stenfors Architects

MEP Engineers: tk1sc collaborative

Structural Engineer: KPFF

Cost Estimation: C.P. O'Halloran

Status: Proposed

The existing LSB structure was built of concrete and housed many of the Life Sciences labs and teaching spaces. Other than the typical issues with ADA access and the abatement of materials, the LSB was ideally suited to the conservation space needs and activities. The 1960’s vintage structure required minor structural modification to install a new accessible ramp and materials lift due to existing level changes. Fortunately, the structural capacity was verified to support the massive concentrated weights of books, storage, and heavy equipment.

The UCLA Conservation Lab provides expertise and facilities to restore valuable items from the library collection. The 4600 SF space has been temporarily relocated to the Powell Library from Kinross. Ultimately, its next and hopefully permanent home will be in the LSB.


The Conservation Lab programmatically is defined by the Paper Lab, Book Lab, and in addition the ancilliary spaces which service both labs in congruence. The Paper Lab, with Dry and Wet workspaces, with access for specialized mechanical services for the laboratory services of each, including specialized lighting, equipment service provisions, safety equipment, and a fume hood to mitigate minor toxic materials from the environment. In addition, all spaces require strict HVAC controls that ensure preservation of materials in a neutral atmosphere at all times within the lab.


ISCC Programming Plan

Another 1500 SF of programming requires containment so that it can be accessed by shared staff, only conservation staff access the more sensitive laboratories beyond.


The new Conservation Lab is designed to be open and provide sightlines and open access where allowed while still keeping environmental requirements and access restrictions as required..  Daylight from the existing windows was carefully harvested through via sightlines between workstations, but is filtered as required in order to prevent UV exposure to sensitive materials in the laboratory space.

Architecturally, the space is delimited by ample circulation for the various functions to operate. Workstations are free plan allowing circulation around preservation materials for ease of access for employees.

Level 3 Perspective Floor Plan

Preservation Workspace Renderings

Efficient LED lighting is arrayed linearly throughout the open plan space. Exposed ceilings and utilities are painted white to increase visual acuity. Dropped ceilings acoustically conceal mechanical equipment and provide intimate workspace.  

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