Category Archives: Spaces

The Price of Transformation

 

Building the Learning Commons in the Perry-Castañeda Library and the Creativity Commons in the Fine Arts Library come with a big price tag. The University of Texas Libraries has invested time, money, and staff to these projects, however, there is still a need for funding.

Phase one of the Learning Commons will transform 20,000 square-feet on the entry level of PCL. In addition to adaptive-learning classrooms and a new media lab, the Learning Commons will serve as the new home for the University Writing Center. These changes are all part of making the Perry-Castañeda Library a one-stop-shop for student research and productivity. The  overall cost for the first phase of the project — roughly $4.5 million — has been shouldered with the help of the Office of the Provost ($2 million), the College of Liberal Arts  ($500,000), and the Libraries ($1.5 million). The Libraries will still need to raise roughly $500,000 in order to fund the technology needs,  the most critical of components for the Learning Commons. Funding opportunities for the Learning Commons:

  • Digital Media Lab Sponsor – $75,000 (2 available)
    Provide a space for 50 students to access state-of-the-art technology to assist them in creating presentations, media production, gaming projects and collaborative assignments.
  • Learning Labs Sponsor – $50,000 (2 available)
    Provide technology-enhanced large classrooms available for instruction and student study.
  • Learning Labs Sponsor – $35,000 (3 available)
    Provide technology-enhanced smaller classrooms available for instruction and student study.
  • Technology Sponsor – $25,000 (3 available)
    Provide hardware, software, technical assistance and installation of digital technology in the Learning Commons.
  • Collaborative Space Sponsor – $15,000 (5 available)
    Provide general study and work space for graduate and undergraduate students.
  • Learning Commons Sponsor – $10,000
    Support enhanced research, writing and academic assistance each student in the Learning Commons will receive.
  • Student Sponsor – $1,700
    Provide services in the Learning Commons for one student. Students will have access to research and writing assistance, tutoring, academic support, digital media production training and assistance.

The Fine Arts Library’s Creativity Commons will transform the way students and faculty use the libraries at the University of Texas. The Creativity Commons will include maker workshop tools found in colleges elsewhere on campus, like 3-D printers and shop tools, in addition to game development, recording and video production studios. The Libraries believe that hosting these labs is pivotal to students’ success because while these tools are available in other areas on campus, they are restricted to students of a certain major. The University of Texas Libraries has partnered with the College of Fine Arts to fund staff to create and manage the various aspects of the Creativity Commons. The overall cost of building the Creativity Commons is $175,000. Funding opportunities for the Creativity Commons:

  • Video Production Studio Sponsor – $50,000
    Provide high-end video technology and equipment to check out and enable students to have access to high-end cameras and a responsive editing facility with large format monitors.
  • Game Developer Studio Sponsor – $35,000
    Provide equipment and technology for game development and testing.
  • Maker Workshop Sponsor – $25,000
    Provide a DIY space for students to create, fabricate, build, hack, and code.
  • Technology Sponsor – $25,000
    Provide all necessary hardware, software, and instillation for the Creativity Commons.
  • Recording Studio – $15,000
    Provide a variety of equipment for song/music creation – keyboards, computers, mixers, microphones and a “voice over booth,” that will have sound isolation for signers and narrators to practice and record vocal parts.
  • 3D Design Workspace Sponsor – $15,000
    Provide a cluster of medium-level 3D printing stations that will be fully support from design assistance to implementation.
  • Student Sponsor – $5,000
    Provide services in the Creativity Commons for one student. Students will have access to state-of-the-art technology and equipment as well as expert training.

The UT Libraries will embark on its very first crowd-funding campaign in March to raise $10,000 for the Recording Studio in the Creativity Commons. The campaign has partnered with five “champions” to spread the word about the Fine Arts Library Recording Studio. Fine Arts Librarian Laura Schwartz, UT Libraries Chief Development Officer Gregory Perrin, Psychology major Rosa Muñoz, Theatre and Dance and Advertising major Sara Robillard, and Librarian and local Austin musician PG Moreno are championing the project to students, faculty, alums, friends, and community members to gain their support. The campaign will kick off on March 23 and run through May 1. For more information or to get involved, please contact Natalie Moore.

Philanthropy continues to play a key role in the Libraries success. Individuals and corporations who invest in the Learning Commons and/or the Creativity Commons will be recognized with their name in the completed spaces they have sponsored. To support the creation of the Learning Commons or the Creativity Commons, please contact Gregory Perrin or visit our online giving page today.

Student Produces in Media Lab

Roberto Torres, a recent graduate from UT Austin’s Radio, Television and Film program, has been one of the Media Lab’s most enthusiastic and regular users since we opened this summer. He received early training in film production at McAllen High School in south Texas, where he won awards for his work on the KMAC student-run news station.

Here at UT, Roberto has strengthened his skills in shooting, editing and post-production, and has started experimenting with special effects. This video shows how he combined 3D modelling software Maya with Adobe Premiere and After Effects to “shatter” the wall of a building:

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Check out more of Roberto Torres’s videos at the PCL Media Lab blog.

Make It New: A Learning Commons at PCL

Learning Commons conceptual drawings by Gensler.
Learning Commons conceptual drawings by Gensler.

“A real building is one on which the eye can light and stay lit,” exhorted poet Ezra Pound, commenting on the need for architecture to be visually engaging in order to stimulate the mind — a thought that could just as easily apply to that which occurs within a given structure. With the Perry-Castañeda Library’s (PCL) recent entry in the Austin Chronicle’s “Best of 2014” issue with the dubious distinction of “Best Brutalist Architecture,” there’s little promise that the edifice of the 70’s-era building would meet Pound’s condition for generating intellectual inspiration, so the Libraries must instead focus on that which occurs within the walls of its spaces to spark creativity and innovation.

To that end, the Libraries is undertaking its largest transformation of space since the PCL’s construction in an effort to adapt to the changing needs and practices of its users, as well as to the expectations of the larger campus community.

This semester, construction is beginning on phase one of a project to create a cross-campus collaborative space in the Libraries’ flagship branch where student learning at the university will enter a new era. The University of Texas Libraries Learning Commons has been in development over the past 18 months through engagement with campus stakeholders and discussions with university administrators to envision the transformation of outmoded library space into a place where active learning and modern scholarship can occur.

“Libraries have learned from recent paradigm shifts to be more agile than they were traditionally,” says Executive Associate Director Catherine Hamer. “While shrinking budgets compound the difficulty of making wholesale changes to how we operate, we’ve continued planning and executing on efforts that are known needs for students, faculty and researchers. We’ve been developing the Learning Commons as a major strategic goal behind the scenes for some time, and I’m gratified that we’re finally able to announce it as a reality.”

Library space designed by Gensler.
Library space designed by Gensler.

The 20,000 square-foot renovation on the entry-level of PCL will include new technology-rich classrooms built for 21st century learning, consultation spaces and meeting areas. It will boast a modern media lab with high-end software and support for digital media creation that will be available to every student on campus — regardless of college or school — as well as support for faculty who want to incorporate digital literacy into their courses. The Learning Commons will also serve as the new home for the University Writing Center (UWC), the first-of-its-kind partnership between the Libraries and another campus service unit devised to streamline resources for students at UT by locating specialized service at the point of need. Continue reading Make It New: A Learning Commons at PCL