ILR Catherwood Library Collaborative Learning Spaces

cornell university, ithaca, new york

The Cornell ILR School came to MDSA, who designed and constructed the Catherwood Library over a decade ago, to create a Collaboration Space in what was a book stack area. The book stacks at the Research Library have been in the process of being digitized the past few years, which frees up valuable area within the library for students to study and collaborate.


The new 2,900 sq. t. Collaboration Space is comprised of two separate areas and is located adjacent to the Silent Reading Room. Glass partitions, carefully, sealed to limit sound transmission, separate the three areas to keep a visual connection and maintain a feeling of openness. The glass also allows natural light from the exterior to penetrate deep into the plan.


The space incorporates three customized furniture units for groups of 6 at each, with a large LCD monitor and computer connectivity terminals for interactive study sessions. The Colaboration Space and Silent Reading Room will be open 24 hours, unique to the Cornell Campus, through card reader access. The project will start construction in the Summer of 2019.