Community College of Philadelphia
CCP Library and Learning Commons
Project Type

What was old has become new again, thanks to a major renovation of its existing library and learning commons by Community College of Philadelphia.

The facilities occupy 64,000 square feet on the first and mezzanine floors of the historic Mint Building at 1700 Spring Garden Street. Constructed in 1901, the imposing five-story, 216,000-square-foot building was acquired by CCP in 1972, when the U.S. Mint moved to its current location on Independence Mall.

CCP’s 2017-2025 master plan identified opportunities to reconfigure library facilities to tap underutilized and vacant study and stack space. More importantly, the proposed transformation was intended to revolutionize how learning happens on campus by consolidating the services of the library, learning labs, and student academic computing into a single location that provides an engaging space for quiet study, collaboration, creativity, and the latest technology.

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The college’s redesigned Library and Learning Commons opened in fall 2021. The expanded space features readily available support services, multimedia rooms, multi-use spaces for study, a café and art exhibit area, the One Button Studio for digital video production, and a collaborative makerspace where students and faculty can gather to develop creative projects using a variety of tools and materials. CCP hailed it as “A student space—a welcoming, supportive, and safe place for studying, socializing, reading, and relaxing. It is truly the heart of the College.”

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Architect of record HDR describes the reading room as a long double-height space, and a “modern interpretation of the main grand hall.” The existing mezzanine was incorporated to break down the scale of the space and define functional areas that support different study styles. Adjacent spaces were “layered” to incorporate smaller huddle and group study areas near the exterior courtyard, which was redesigned for student use.

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KMA assisted with many aspects of the redesign, particularly historic building components, including renovations to the historic façade elements such as masonry window restoration and replacement. We were also responsible for code review, millwork design and documentation, and construction administration services.

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All photos by Dan Schwalm © 2022 HDR