Interactive and collaborative learning, rather than quiet study space, was the intention of the University of Southern Maine (USM) Learning Commons, a joint endeavor of the USM School Library and the Division of Student Success. Located on USM’s Portland campus, the Learning Commons incorporates a range of academic support programs with library resources and technologies. Designed by Harriman, the project renovated a 13,500-square-foot floor of USM’s seven-story library to create an academic and social facility that would unite students and staff with a variety of flexible learning spaces and library services.
Harriman’s approach was to create activity zones that encourage multiple modes of learning and discovery. The universal, barrier-free design places open and active areas on the perimeter, allowing natural light to penetrate the building’s deep floor plate. Enclosed group-study rooms and faculty landing offices line the interior, and study areas easily adapt to host different group sizes, further maximizing the space’s flexibility. The open floor plan features a multifunctional … Read More