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Watson Library carrels project earns merit award for KU Arc/D students at AIA Kansas

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

The University of Kansas Libraries, along with the School of Architecture & Design, are pleased to announce that a class of KU Arc/D students received an award from the American Institute of Architects Kansas (AIA Kansas) for the renovation of study carrels in Watson Library

The competition, for architecture students at the University of Kansas and Kansas State University, encourages and recognizes excellence in student work, elevates public awareness and recognizes students whose efforts enhance the art of architecture. 

“Winning an AIA award is a testament to the thoughtfulness, skill, and dedication of a student design team,” said Jay Holley, instructor for arch 509, architect and senior associate at Gould Evans. “To a student, the recognition says ‘good work, welcome to the profession and keep it up.’ To a potential employer, an AIA award on a student’s résumé can set them apart as a recruit to keep their eyes on.”

In 2017, KU Libraries partnered with Arc/D’s ARCH 509 design-build course to complete a redesign and installation of remodeled carrels in Watson’s third floor west stacks. The unique collaboration offered students a real-world project to complete from start to finish. 

The updated carrels maximize natural light, balance openness and privacy and ensure comfortable seating, task lighting and power in every carrel. The 13 spaces offer diverse solutions to students’ study needs—from individual and two-person spaces to lounge seating.

Each carrel also offers a naming opportunity, with donors’ gifts to be recognized on special, engraved plaques installed in each named space.

“We strive to improve our spaces in support of student academic success,” said Jeromy Horkman, director of public operations. “The updated carrels achieve that objective and our assessment of the renovated space shows increased use as a result of the renovation.”

The awards were presented at the AIA Kansas Conference on September 12 in Wichita. 

Students involved in the Watson carrels renovation project were: Jessica Budy, Basehor, Kan.;  Grant Campbell, Wichita, Kan.; Casey Chura, St. Louis, Mo.; Jordan Cook, Austin, Texas; Jack Dienst, Edina, Minn.; Lane Edson, Lenexa, Kan.; Abby Eleeson, Fenton, Missouri; Jaxson Freeman, Kansas City, Mo.; Lindsey Freund, Olathe, Kan.; Nate Hulse, Lawrence, Kan.; Vinny Huynh, Blue Springs, Mo.; Leah Kite, Lenexa, Kan.; Botao Li, Hongta, China; Deion McQuarters, Bonner Springs, Kan.; Tyler Proemsey, St. Peters, Mo.; and Norah Swift, West St. Paul, Minn. 

The success of the partnership between KU Libraries and the School of Architecture & Design has led to the beginning renovations of carrels on Watson Library’s fourth floor in the west wing stacks. The target completion date is December. 

For more information on the carrels, please contact Christy McWard, director of the Office of Communications & Advancement for KU Libraries, at or 785-864-0092.


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