Most people think of an architect as a person who designs buildings. But, in reality, an architect can more accurately be described as someone who invents spaces where human beings can live better. Beyond designing the interior and exterior of a building, an architect is concerned with how our home, work and leisure environments enhance our overall quality of life. For students of the UNLV School of Architecture, mastering this discipline requires the understanding of human behavior, art, history, physics and engineering.
Keystone to their education, the Architecture Studies Library (ASL) supports the school’s core curriculum and research needs. Established in 1997, ASL has advanced to offer students and industry members in the community more than 25,000 bound volumes, more than 600 media items and 240 journals in the primary areas of architecture, landscape architecture and interior design. Subjects covered by the library's collection also include theory, historic preservation, building technology, sustainable design, community and regional planning, and urban design.
“The Architecture Studies Library is a reflection of contemporary architectural culture and education,” said Caroline Smith, head of the ASL. “It’s the place where students, faculty and library staff form a nexus with our rich collections.”
Smith, who served several years as the UNLV Libraries engineering subject librarian, accepted the ASL leadership position in 2010. In addition to continuing to grow its collection, she was excited for the opportunity to transform the space into a more relaxed and welcoming environment.
“We’ve made the library more user friendly in many ways,” she said. “We allow users to bring their beverages, we’ve opened up spaces for project displays and special exhibits, and we have building blocks out for our tactile learners, which architecture students tend to be.”
Indeed, the Architecture Studies Library is today a multi-purpose environment that not only promotes learning, but also serves as a meeting place for various academic and industry events, including lecture series and the School of Architecture’s opening semester meetings. Following tradition, this month the ASL will host the fall semester’s architecture design competition. Students will display their projects, and the winners will be showcased in a special exhibition in January that is open to members of the community.
Smith, two full-time staff members (Steven Baskin and Amanda Melilli) and eight work-study program students see to the day-to-day operations of the library. Smith said she is proud of their level of commitment and attention to detail. Their outstanding contributions, along with the library’s space, were recently cited as a “national example” by the National Architectural Accrediting Board.
We welcome you to visit the Architecture Studies Libraries and discover how art and engineering collide to enhance our quality of life.
For more information, visit architecture.unlv.edu/Library or call 702-895-1959.