Evanston Public Library: Teen Loft

Carving Out Room and Resource For Teens
Wow. This is the first time I’ve been in here and I love it! It’s so teenagerish. I really wish my room looked like this!  You’re kidding, teens helped design this?!  I didn’t know cool stuff like that went on.
~ Evanston High School Senior

Teens on the design team demanded physical separation from the main library without their new distinct space feeling isolated. The resulting 2000 SF teen “Loft” was carved out of unused storage space with easy access to staff and adult reference materials.

Illuminated digital letters set within a translucent honeycomb panel spell out ownership. A palette expressive of the teen’s sophisticated ideas evolved that represented duality: a “silly” side with an egg chair, mod lights, and spaces to lounge and a “serious” side with computers, study rooms, and task lighting. The pastiche of wallpapers speaks of encryption, perhaps indicative of teen communicative habits, inspired by both text and technology. The Reading Bar, a café-inspired counter surrounds the wall of monitors and informal stage that the teens or the teen librarian operate for improv poetry slams or performance.  In 2013, the Loft ran 274 programs and served over 1500 teens.

A local high school senior commented, I walked into the Loft and thought this couldn’t possibly be the library.

I’ve been coming here every day after school. I just can’t stay away. I love it so much.
~ Evanston High School Teen

Check out the Teen Library You Tube Walk-Through
Or read more about our work at the Evanston Public Library on the design of the children’s library. 

Interior Architecture Award, American Institute of Architects Chicago, 2008.
Acknowledgement of a spirited graphic design solution brought about through a participatory process.
Outstanding Project Award,
American Library Association & International Interior Design Association, 2007.
Award given for significant achievement for a single space focusing on a specific user group.

Owner:  Evanston Public Library
Architecture, Interior Architecture & Interactive Design
: Architecture Is Fun, Inc.
Architect of Record:
  Nagle Hartray Architecture
:  Evanston/Illinois
:  Completed 2007
Photography:   © Doug Snower Photography