Charles Library at Temple University / Snøhetta

The architecture of university campuses was the subject of my graduate work. I was always interested to see how architects solve the issue of creating new buildings inside historical campuses. Snøhetta created not only a spacious library, but also a new public space for students and residents of the area. And that’s great! Because the feeling from Philadelphia was not the most pleasant for me. A lot of abandoned buildings, garbage, suspicious people. In some places I was glad that I went with friends and it was not so scary. But closer to the university, the district has become more prosperous.

The granite facade of the library refers us to the historical appearance of the campus. Smooth wooden entrance groups literally lure us inside. I have noticed many times when I get into a new space, I move around the building intuitively. I liked the feeling that the architect carefully guides you through the wooden arches to the space of the atrium, then points to the central staircase. You obediently go to the second and third floor among smooth lines.

The streamlined atrium is illuminated through huge glazing. Through the main hall, natural light enters almost all the working spaces of the library. And we all know how important natural light is for long and painstaking work on books.

The library has many open spaces for work. They are located on all three floors. There are also many negotiation-type training spaces. Behind glass doors you can get together to discuss a group project and not bother anyone. These meeting rooms vary in size from 1 person to an entire class. The space is a bit like a google office. You already feel like a serious person, negotiating with your team.


On Sunday, Charles Library had a lot of students. Almost all the places were occupied. If, when I was studying, I had the opportunity to study in such a beautiful and spacious place, I would not get out of it either. There were even students in pajamas, who came from a nearby dormitory building.

The visual appearance of the training and work space is very important. I am firmly convinced that the architectural environment strongly affects the emotional and psychological state of a person. Natural materials, spaciousness, high ceilings, smooth soothing shapes, lots of natural light. When you are in this space you feel inspired and want to change the world. Just what young students need, who are full of energy.

Maria Malygina


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