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Goucher College Tops Design Competition

Release date: June 28, 2012

Goucher's academic library – housed in the college's flagship Athenaeum building– was named No. 1 among Library Journal's New Landmark Libraries for 2012. The awards were based on criteria such as overall design and construction excellence, response to community context and constraints, sustainability, functionality, innovation, and "beauty and delight."

"The Athenaeum is the centerpiece of our campus and the literal, physical embodiment of an educational experience that touches every aspect of our students' lives," said Goucher President Sanford J. Ungar, the driving force behind the building. "It is exciting that others recognize the vision now at work in our intellectual community."

The Goucher Athenaeum opened in 2009 and serves a campus of more than 1,800 undergraduate and graduate students not only with a high-tech library, but also with a public forum, classrooms, café, radio station, community service center, an art gallery and places to meet and converse-all in one.

According to the Library Journal's announcement on June 28, a panel of judges awarded the college first place for its "impressive architecture and creative spaces."

"It is wonderful to be recognized as the number one place we know we are," said Goucher College Librarian Nancy Magnuson. She said the new building has challenged the library to an even higher level of quality of service and programming.  

"It's the incorporation of nonlinear thinking about the student that makes the Athenaeum a standout ... rethinking how the library operates is what makes the building so successful," said New Landmark Libraries Project Lead Louise Schaper. "The list of nontraditional services offered is staggering."

The building was designed by architect RMJM/Hillier and received Gold certification according to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green-Building Rating System. 

Ungar said the Athenaeum is a key part of Goucher's effort to be more and more green. "We've been incorporating sustainable design principles into our facilities planning for some time," he said. " The Athenaeum was an integral part of the plan."

Submissions for the 2012 New Landmark Libraries were solicited for academic libraries constructed between 2007 and 2011. Libraries at the University of California, Ohio State University, South Mountain Community College, and Seattle University also were recognized. Full details on the 2012 winners can be found in the July issue of Library Journal and at www.libraryjournal.com/nll2012

More information on the Athenaeum can be found at http://tour.goucher.edu/.