Year 2, St Andrews Library Project: The Living Library

I'm Ashleigh and I'm in 2nd year.

For our final project we were given the task of designing a library in St Andrews. As this was the first year of the course being entirely online due to the pandemic I wanted to incorporate the experience of that into my work. Many of us will have had our mental health impacted in some way due to everything online, the multiple lockdowns and the sense of feeling alone. My library focuses on these emotions and is designed in a way to help with this. 

Mental health in students was the key factor for me. I did a lot of research into what can help with mental health. The idea of using a lot of greenery in my design came quite early on. Not only does it have its environmental benefits, it also has a big impact on mental health as studies show people who are surrounded by nature and greenery are more positive and have a higher level of health and wellbeing. I created many green areas in my design, from a green roof to a green living wall both interior and exterior. Social interaction was another aspect in which I looked into. We can all agree that from being online for so long with little face to face interaction the first time meeting a group in person felt surreal. My library has both solo and group study spaces. Even if you're studying on your own, the feeling of having a friend at the same table is nice. From large study tables inside and outside there is plenty of places for friends and university peers to take part in group studies. Upon the completion of my design, I still had a lot of the site left to use. I decided to create another social space that also had a clear connection to nature. I created a community garden which both students and locals can use. Not only does this have a social connection, it can also spark an interest in a new hobby as well as growth of vegetation.

Throughout the year I used Photoshop more than I have ever done before. This improved my skills using this software and allowed me to create my final images. I did these in both a realistic as well as cartoon format. I enjoyed using bright colours as I wanted my building to be associated with happiness and to look inviting. Overall I am very happy with my work in this project as I believe I have created a building which had mental health as a key factor in its design.