'Library Journal' Names Guerrieri Academic Commons Among 'Uncommon Common Spaces'
SALISBURY, MD---Salisbury University’s award-winning Patricia R. Guerrieri Academic Commons (GAC) is a little … uncommon.
And that’s a good thing.
Library Journal recently highlighted the facility among three “Uncommon Common Spaces” in its annual “Year in Architecture” feature.
“Library Journal has recognized what our students already told us by flocking to the GAC in huge numbers,” said Dr. Beatriz Hardy, SU dean of libraries and instructional resources. “It’s a wonderful space for studying and learning.”
On average, each of SU’s 8,700-plus students visits the Academic Commons nearly three times a week. “That’s a lot!” Hardy said. “I am sure it contributes to student success and also impresses prospective students and their parents when they come through on tours and see how busy the building is.”
Opened in fall 2016, the building has earned awards from the American Institute of Architects’ Maryland, Baltimore and Potomac Valley chapters for its design architect, Sasaki Associates, and architect of record, Ayers Saint Gross. Contractor Gilbane Building Co. won the Associated Builders and Contractors Chesapeake Shores chapter’s Project of the Year award for its role in constructing the facility.
The GAC also has earned Architizer’s A+ Award and received notice from organizations including ARCHMARATHON and the Brick Industry Association.
The 221,000-square-foot building is the largest academic structure at SU, serving as a new home for the University’s library and academic centers. It also includes museum-quality archival and exhibit space for SU’s Edward H. Nabb Research Center for Delmarva History and Culture, some 600 computers and a 3-D printing Maker Lab. Special areas for faculty and graduate students have earned it a reputation as a hub for academics and collaboration.
Architecturally, the building offers even more unique features. They include a “green roof” — a 20,000-square-foot “lawn” atop the structure, comprised of living plants that act as a rainwater collection and filtration system — and the four-octave, 48-bell Brown and Church Carillon, one of only some 60 such traditional instruments on a college or university campus nationally. Inside, the GAC’s 62-foot-tall atrium has become a campus landmark, framed by a dramatic staircase whose abstract, crab-like design (as well as other aspects of the building) was inspired by the Eastern Shore.
Earlier this year, the GAC also earned the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Maryland chapter’s Wintergreen Award for Excellence in Green Building in the Education category. The USGBC has certified it as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold building, one of the highest levels available.