For me, the naming of a project or design is something that usually happens last in the process, and to be honest, with minimal thought. A quick brainstorm, maybe a glance at a thesaurus if I’m feeling extra motivated. As long as it sounds somewhat cool and generally reflects the basic feel of the project, it sticks. However, finding a name for our MUSC library has proven a tad more difficult than anyone was expecting. We are not just naming our particular library. We are attempting to name a completely new typology of building. The word “library” does not really express what the “new” library is all about. It will no longer be an austere repository of information, but an interactive destination for both studying and connecting with others. It will have a multitude of different spaces and functions, drawing people in for numerous different reasons. It will hopefully provide a unique and radically different experience for its users, and requires a name that reflects its exciting intentions.
We agreed early on that “learning commons” and “student center” have been done before, are out-dated, and absolutely would not entice the interest of the students. So the question remains, how do we name a place that until now, has never existed?
As a studio, we tend to have a few describing words that continue to pop up in class discussions. Hub. Node. Nexus. Core. Concourse. Most recently Terminal has been dubbed the new temporary library name. On one hand, “terminal” acknowledges the fact that the library is a place where students can come and go freely, a place where information can be transported from all over the world, a place that encourages movement and interaction. However “terminal” also suggests the end. And at a medical university and hospital, “terminal” is not generally a work that folks want to hear. Not to mention, a terminal is already a building type, conjuring up images of crowded airports or dingy bus stations. What we need is a word free of previous uses. Much easier said than done.
The word “interface” was recently suggested by Professor Huff, and although some thought it sounded too computer and technology oriented (and understandably so), “interface” really does get closer to the mood we are trying to conjure with a single word. The library will act as an interface in multiple ways: between users and information, between students and other students, and hopefully between the occupants and their immediate environment. I tend to agree that “interface” sounds a little techy, but generally is heading in a direction that we need to follow.
Well, back to brainstorming and some thesaurus inquiries! Check back with us on Monday…a new, exciting, radical, and enticing name is right on the tip of our tongue (at least we hope!)