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February 5, 2023 @ 6:00 PM  /  A210 and Livestream

Ben Youtz and Kelly Haigh

Event Location:
A210 and Livestream
Shifting Paradigms in Historic Structures
Shifting Paradigms in Historic Structures

Presenting sponsor:


The Future of University Libraries Lecture Series

Shifting Paradigms in Historic Structures

University libraries are often seen as a central, educational and social hub in communities. They are places for academic development - palaces of knowledge. In an era of changing workstyles, evolving research trends, and expanding technologies, how and where does the university library fit? What is the role of physical space in a digital world?  How are libraries being designed to fit today's needs and what trends do we see emerging to future-proof their impact? 

LTU’s College of Architecture and Design is excited to engage the educational community in these questions and more during our three-part lecture series on the re-imagining of academic libraries. Join us as we explore this important topic with industry professionals

For our third lecture, we present Kelly Haigh AIA IIDA LEED and Ben Youtz AIA LEED of designLAB architects. Today’s library programming far exceeds the traditional library environment. Is it a book warehouse, makerspace, tech hub, or social space? Shifting paradigms demand changes to our current models, but what rules guide these transformations? How do our libraries remain relevant as resources evolve, and how might a school or community determine whether they are even necessary?

In this lecture, designLAB architects will present a framework for the assessment of library programming as an ever-evolving paradigm, with examples of how libraries have been transformed from turn-of-the-century and mid-century book warehouses into community centers, events venues, arts galleries, and more. Critical issues surrounding the programming and adaptations of our historic buildings will be presented, which can serve as a tool for the transformation of historic structures into state of the art libraries that can serve as enduring resources.

Through a series of case studies, designLAB will demonstrate how bold and nuanced design approaches enable historic libraries to recapture the imagination of its academic and broader community, while reflecting the values and culture of its institution and people.

This presentation will:

  • Help participants identify the latest trends in library programming in a broad spectrum of academic and community settings.
  • Teach how to develop strategies for client and stakeholder engagement that will lead to effective programming and visioning through comprehensive programming frameworks.
  • Enable guests to employ strategies for transforming library environments to meet current and future programming needs.


Kelly Haigh AIA IIDA LEED and Ben Youtz AIA LEED are partners at designLAB architects, a Boston-based, women-owned studio founded in 2005, devoted to creating places that reflect the mission and identity of institutions, cities, and individuals. Our studio has underlined our commitment to transparency, equity, and social justice through our Just Label, a program administered by the International Living Future Institute. A core facet of designLAB's work is in the renovation and rehabilitation of historic and mid-century structures, largely within non-profit and higher education settings. These projects excite us because they exist at an improbable intersection: that of past and present; of preservation and innovation; of heritage and ingenuity. We operate within a philosophy we call Critical Stewardship, an approach to design based on the universal responsibility to history and the environment as valued through the lens of community. The stewardship of our valuable resources (environmental, built or cultural) is emboldened by creativity, which is critical in both senses: essential yet offering critique. Critical Stewardship reflects that the architecture of today is part of a historical and environmental continuum. With each intervention, be it a revitalization or new construction, we guide an evolution.



2022-4-14 T 6:00 PM InStock USD 0