Designing for the Old Library

This session brought together two of our sponsors, OMI and H. H. Smith, and our good friends Lister Steps.

Having delivered primary school workshops earlier this year for Lister Steps to engage young people in the design on the community room, it was great to be back in the building to see all the progress that’s been made!

Aaron from OMI and Diane from H. H. Smith lead a fantastic tour. They introduced the participants to the building’s history, future, challenges and vision for the future when it sets yo reopen as Lister Step’s community centre in Summer 2020.

After we braved the cold, it was back to Lister Step’s current centre to hear more from Aaron. We learnt more about the types of projects OMI works on, what it’s like being an architect, and how he got there. It was really fantastic to hear about the route that he went through from being a student to now being a professionals architect, and he also dispelled some of the myths around the sector, namely that you have to be amazing at maths!

Then, on to the design project. The group split into teams to design multi-functional furniture and interpretation designs. With Aaron’s advice, they explored how they could use contrast to highlight the difference between new and old, and add an interesting visual dynamic into the building.

Designs included:

  • A series of individual desks which could be bolted together for group work. It also included a reading nook for young children that could be used while the parent is at the desk
  • Table tops with historical information under a glass surface so that information could be changed over time. and used to sit different activities
  • Benches and workspaces in the form of a book which could be folded out and stored neatly
  • An octagonal table to mirror the entrance foyer with chairs that can fold inside. Also had usb charging points for visitors phones
  • Bookshelf-come-seating which could be stacked in different ways to suit different numbers of people

Thanks again to OMI, H. H. Smith and Lister Steps for making this session happen. We felt very fortunate to see such a wonderful building being restored with such love and care, and we’re all so excited to be able go back and see it when it’s open!

And lastly, a bug thank you to also our wonderful volunteers Tazeen and Vikki for supporting the session.