USC Relaxation Station Microlibrary

Program: Microlibrary temporary installation 

Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA

Client: University of Southern California

The USC Relaxation Station Microlibrary is a temporary installation that provides an informal outdoor presence for the USC Norris Medical library on the USC Health Sciences Campus in Los Angeles. The project extends the reach of the library beyond its doors, and challenges the perceptions of the library as a place of study and a place of isolation. Instead it proposes the microlibrary as both a social and a civic destination for the campus - it represents the library as a communal public space for reading that encourages social interaction. As an initiative funded by USC Visions and Voices with support from USC Libraries and the USC School of Architecture, the project promotes reading and other creative activities as a form of relaxation. The project is an opportunity to infuse the humanities into the Health Sciences Libraries; to unify the Health Sciences Campus with its surrounding communities; and to provide a self-care device for both students and patients. Designed through a computational form-finding process known as mesh relaxation and inspired by the multi-color appearance of Nike Flyknit sneakers, the structure is materialized as a welded frame of steel pipes skinned with a network of multi-colored parachute cord. The network of tensioned linear elements, each spanning different points of the frame, collectively produce a double curved mesh surface of seating and lounge areas that merge with a shade canopy.