Graduation Year

2008

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.Arch.

Degree Granting Department

Architecture

Major Professor

Stanley R. Russell, M.Arch.

Keywords

Architecture, Library, Libraries, Library as Place, Icomde

Abstract

The library has existed as a repository for knowledge for centuries. However, in spite of the information revolution and its watershed component, the internet, this institution has found itself fundamentally unchanged. Great strides have been taken to adapt the library to this changing world, but these incremental changes are timid and reactionary. Through the internet the floodgates have opened; individuals are creating and sharing information both personal and academic, in the form of not-so-private journals, works of creative fiction, works of journalism, works of scholarship, and every other form of intellectual (and not so intellectual) propagation imaginable. Additionally, advances in computer display and input technology are breaking down the conceptions of what a computer is and how we interact with them.

The trend is pointing to a future where computers are no longer objects, but an integrated component of our built environment, capable of responding to practically limitless simultaneous individual users. This thesis will take the lead on these growing trends and create a new type of information age institution to evolve alongside, rather than supplant, the library: Icomde. This new institution will explore the possibilities of these new technologies while embracing the spirit of the information revolution. It will create a unique place where people can experience state of the art means of information creation, interaction, and collaboration. Finally, when the technology present has been fundamentally surpassed, the Icomde will be dismantled and the pieces distributed to dozens of locations throughout the world to found new Icomdes, with the original site becoming host to the next iteration of whatever advanced technologies will follow.

This thesis will seek to examine the cultural, social role of the library as it has evolved and has been propagated through the course of human events, using design and history research, so as to employ the 'spirit' of this place as completely as possible in spite of the proposed radical paradigm shift. It will also use logical argumentation to organize trends in web content generation and publication into patterns that can be interpreted and acted upon in a forward-thinking fashion rather than a reactionary one.

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