Johns Hopkins University

Brody Learning Commons

Baltimore, MD

Johns Hopkins University was met with the challenge of engaging a student body who access and learn information in a radically different manner than past generations. The result, Brody Learning Commons (BLC), reimagines the traditional library experience. While looking to the future with technology classrooms, BLC also focuses on honoring the past. Home to the Department of Special Collections and the Department of Conservation and Preservation, BLC was built as a stand-alone addition to the University’s existing Eisenhower Library and incorporates rare book and manuscript reading rooms and conservation laboratories. The rooms dedicated to preservation and restoration were designed to the Smithsonian’s specifications for temperature and humidity control.

The project required year-round construction but all work was performed while keeping the existing library in operation. Sustainable systems designed by AKF for the LEED Gold certified Commons include raised floor displacement ventilation, CO2 monitoring, daylight harvesting, reduced domestic water consumption using low-flow fixtures, lighting control systems, and the campus’s first Underfloor Air Distribution (UAD) system. With its respect for the past and eye toward the future, BLC is truly embodying Johns Hopkins’ mission to “cultivate students' capacity for lifelong learning." The space is a celebration of the digital age of study without sacrificing direct access to the conventional printed media located in the adjacent Eisenhower Library.

Project Photography: © Anton Grassl / Esto

Technical Statistics

OWNER: Johns Hopkins University
PROJECT NAME: Brody Learning Commons
ARCHITECT: Shepley Bulfinch