Community Technology Centers

Computer Pods

Computer Pods by ACU Library
Computer Pods, a photo by ACU Library on Flickr.

ACU Library Photo Caption: Computer pods are the central feature of our social learning floor. The design is custom created to support group work. Tables are in a boomerang shape clustered around a central pillar with four computers. The pillar is furred out to create a hollow space to conceal wiring. The shape of the curve on each side of the pods is such that three to four people can work inside the curve and still have an unobstructed view of the computer screen.

Each pod accommodates 12-16 people. There are 6 of these pods on the main floor.

Power, data, and mobile outlets on the pillar let one connect laptops and mobile devices. The arms of the tables are approximately 4 feet by 2.5 feet wide, allowing plenty of room to spread out books and papers.

I’ve been on a quest to reconsider how we put computers into public spaces. Too often I fear what we do is disrupt the community nature of community spaces by setting up computers in a way that primarily facilitates individual activities. I love this library’s approach and I think it begins by their defining the space as the “Social Learning” floor. They then sought to create furniture that supports that vision of work. Fantastic!

UPDATE: Here’s a presentation by Laura Baker in which she walks us through the reasoning in the design.  While directed towards a library audience, the design process is well worth a listen for anyone supporting social learning spaces.

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