ACADEMIA ​DEL P​ERPETUO S​OCORRO

Academia del Perpetuo Socorro is a private college preparatory school founded in 1921 by the Redemptorist Fathers and School Sisters of Notre Dame.

The Project

In the modern school, the library is no longer a sanctuary reserved for bound books and students quietly engaged in reading and writing. Today’s libraries include areas designed for intensive study, but they also provide spaces where students can gather to talk and learn from one another, to share ideas and work on projects and even collaborate with students andteachers at a distance via technology.

Academia del Perpetuo Socorro is a private college preparatory school founded in 1921 by the Redemptorist Fathers and School Sisters of Notre Dame. In October of 2014, the school inaugurated a 3,000-square-foot (279 m²) Digital Learning Center for its young scholars, converting the traditional library to a 21st century facility designed to provide individual study areas, as well as spaces designed for participatory learning styles and co-construction of knowledge from a variety of sources. The Digital Learning Center offers abundant print and digital resources alike, together with high-tech tools that include interactive whiteboards, computers and state-of-the-art multi-media equipment. Wireless internet access exists in every corner and from every seat.

To transform a traditional library into a multi-faceted Digital Learning Center, designer and project manager Margarita Torres Camara recognized the need to equip the facility with technology-driven furniture that could adapt to a variety of learning scenarios. Interior design, space planning and furniture must work in concert to enable the facility to be used as a small auditorium, a collaborative classroom and an open space for meetings or presentations. Simple, adaptable furniture that could easily be moved about was imperative.

"The Digital Learning Center is an engaging and very flexible space in which students and faculty access and exchange information using the web, various databases and videoconferencing," notes Camara. "We have incorporated innovative furniture systems from Teknion to support our academic community’s diverse instructional methods and activities."

"The Digital Learning Center is an engaging and very flexible space in which students and faculty access and exchange information using the web, various databases and videoconferencing,"

The Response

"Teknion provides an array of appropriate furniture options under one brand, adds Camara. "The simple, quiet elegance of Teknion furniture invites students and teachers to visit the Digital Learning Center—and remain for longer periods of time. And the furniture pieces work beautifully together in a way that allows the Center to create a space that is visually and functionally integrated."

Upon entering the Digital Learning Center, students encounter touch-screen monitors that replace the traditional card catalog. Just beyond, two adjacent rooms were created using the Optos Low Profile glass wall system to divide space and create acoustic privacy, while maintaining a sense of openness and offering a view of greenery splashed with sunlight that creates a stimulating connection to nature. Teknion CLUBtalk interactive hubs were installed in each of these rooms, providing access to the Internet along with the ability to project text and images on to a large shared screen as students work together on projects. Comfortable Variable Multi-Purpose Work Chairs can easily be pulled up to the table and accommodate changes in the number of participants, or moved around to create seating for small discussion groups.

A central circulation desk stores 20 laptops, which students may borrow while working at a table or seated on lounge furniture at the perimeter of the Center—a relaxed option for exploring the Internet or typing a book report. Thesis Learning and Library Tables in different sizes and shapes are variously configured to provide diverse study spaces, while proper illumination and power/data access support every student using the Center. An open area furnished with linked Thesis tables and Variable chairs functions as a space for individual work or as a classroom or mini-auditorium.

Teknion provided the architect with a selection of finishes that enhances the look and feel of the Center. A neutral grey, combined with light maple surfaces and vivid accents of red upholstery applied to the seat of Variable Guest Chairs and Swivel Work Chairs, animates and balances the space, creating a setting conducive to an alert, yet focused, state of mind. The natural illumination encountered upon entering the Center highlights the warm finishes of the furniture and the floor, counteracting the cool, hard surfaces of metal elements and screens.

"We visualized a space where state-of-the-art technology would merge seamlessly with modern furniture, creating an environment where young students and faculty members alike could create, conduct research and collaborate," Camara adds, "While printed books still play a critical role, digital technologies offer new pathways to learning and acquiring knowledge. The new Center accomplishes all this and more thanks to the assistance of Teknion and its dealer, Integrated Design Solutions."

Thesis Learning and Library Tables in different sizes and shapes are variously configured to provide diverse study spaces, while proper illumination and power/data access support every student using the Center.

A central circulation desk stores 20 laptops, which students may borrow while working at a table or seated on lounge furniture at the perimeter of the Center.