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Friedman Study Center at Brown University

Architecture Research Office (ARO)

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Brown University

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Year Completed

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Project Description


The Friedman Study Center is located inside Brown’s Sciences Library. Though this 14-story tower, built in a late 1960’s béton brute style, is a campus landmark, the existing interiors no longer appealed to students. Our design concentrated on Level A, the wide open, underground floor below the lobby, while also addressing the building lobby and mezzanine to offer the Sciences Library a contemporary public profile. Level A offers some distinctive strengths—board formed concrete walls and four sunlit courtyards—around which we designed an environment that appeals to both students who work alone and those who work collaborative in groups.

The Friedman Study Center is organized around study activities and their corresponding noise volumes. Several micro-environments, each furnished with a distinct identity, accommodate a graduation through the space, from quieter individual activity to louder, collaborative work. Brightly colored furniture and vivid patterns refer to the existing building’s 1960’s debut. Diverse chairs and “flirtstones” can be arranged as desired, whether it’s for lounging in sunshine from the courtyards or for a group discussion. Collaboration rooms feature glass walls students can write on, and hidden on concrete walls throughout are silk-screened illustrations from the University library’s collections, complete with call numbers.
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