Library gets ‘patron award’ for idea of IDEA Commons

Students studying

The IDEA Commons is “buzzing with energy at all hours of the day,” says Linda Naru, assistant university librarian. Photo: Roberta Dupuis-Devlin/UIC Photo Services

The Daley Library’s IDEA Commons has won its third design award, this one for the insight of library administrators in choosing the architects and design.

The Chicago Architecture Foundation named the library “Patron of the Year” and described the IDEA Commons as “a vibrant gateway connecting campus and the library while emphasizing its importance as the University’s 24/7 heart.”

The IDEA Commons was chosen in the category of “interior projects” over competitors like the new Langham Hotel in the former IBM Plaza and the Pump Room at the Public Hotel Chicago.

The foundation initiated the Patron of the Year awards in 2003 to recognize that well-designed spaces can be built only with the consent of savvy clients. Leaders in architecture, business and philanthropy serve on the jury for the awards.

Other winners were the Gratz Center, an addition to the Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E. Chestnut St., and Walgreen’s, 1601 N. Milwaukee Ave., for its preservation and reuse of a landmarked bank building.

Since it opened in November 2011, the IDEA commons has won two Design Excellence citations from the Chicago chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

“The IDEA Commons is buzzing with energy at all hours of the day,” said Linda Naru, assistant university librarian. “Students come here to study, collaborate, and use the high-tech resources.”

Library administrators’ counts have found that on average, about 120 students are in the IDEA Commons at any given time between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m.

Early risers — an average of 43 — use the IDEA Commons from 4 to 5 a.m.

During fall and spring semester, the IDEA Commons is open continuously from 10 a.m. Sunday until 7 p.m. Friday, and Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The library will have extended hours at the end of the semester, from 10 a.m. April 27 through 7 p.m. May 9.

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