Architect for Gelman Renovation Chosen

January 11, 2012

Rendering of exterior of Gelman Library

GW recently selected Cox Graae & Spack architects to design the planned entrance-floor renovation of the Estelle and Melvin Gelman Library. The M Street-based firm developed concept renderings of an updated entrance floor for Gelman last summer, and university project administrators finalized plans to hire the firm in December.

University Librarian Jack Siggins said the renovation will make Gelman’s entrance floor more modern and conducive for effective learning, and that Cox Graae & Spack has the necessary expertise for the complex project.

“When completed, the new study environment will meet one of [students’] biggest demands for more study space, while combining modern technology with a flexible study environment,” he said. “It will bring to one central location an array of academic support services that will provide on-site expertise from librarians, technicians and instructors to assist students in their academic work. The architects for the project are experts in designing learning facilities, including libraries, and have first-hand knowledge of Gelman from previous projects.”

The most noticeable change to Gelman after the renovation will be its entrance, which will be relocated to Kogan Plaza. Cox Graae & Spack Principal-in-Charge Christoffer Graae said the new entrance will lead directly into an open, light-filled second floor.

"The new entrance will create great synergistic opportunities for Gelman, Kogan Plaza and the campus while providing an attractive gateway, so library patrons can experience a new facility that enhances today’s media-based resources as well as the collaborative study and research requirements of students," he said. 

The renovated entrance floor will include both traditional computer stations and laptop bars, collaborative learning spaces and a centralized service area, which will provide patrons with ready access to reference services and technological support.

GW students, faculty and staff are invited to attend a town hall-style meeting on Thursday, Jan. 19 at 6 p.m. in library room 301-302. The meeting will be hosted by Gelman’s Student Advisory Board, an informal group of students interested in the library and its programs.

Gelman Student Liaison Aria Varasteh said everyone is welcome to attend, provide feedback about the project and ask questions. Representatives from Cox Graae & Spack will be present to answer questions and discuss the renovation.

“We believe it's important to have student input—it's a university library,” Mr. Varasteh said. “We want students to have a say in every aspect of the renovation, down to each individual chair and desk.” In upcoming meetings, he said, students will have the opportunity to actually try out prototype furniture and provide feedback on both looks and utility.