Research & Information Commons

Daemen College


Location: Amherst, NY

Total GSF: 48,950 GSF New Construction, 12,200 GSF Renovation

Completed: 2009


Awards: 2010 AIA New England Award for Design Excellence

2011 Architectural Woodworking Institute Award of Excellence


The Research and Information Commons (RIC) was conceived of as the academic and social heart of the campus, and a prominent physical expression of Daemen’s evolving and expanding institutional identity. It supports all types of academic study, including traditional library research, group collaborative study, and formal instruction.

A three-story atrium space sits at the center of the building and offers human and technological resources to support student and faculty needs. Clustered around this central hub are smaller spaces housing classrooms, group study, lounges and dedicated academic support spaces. An array of transparent group study rooms provide a “see and be seen” aspect to acoustically separate spaces. The size of the new structure was determined by anticipated library growth, and by the College’s desire to co-locate programs that were previously scattered across campus, such as Computing Assistance, Academic Advising and Tutoring.

The trapezoidal form of the plan presents a generous facade to Main Street and the community, and physically carves into the adjacent existing classroom building providing a connecting link to and from the center of campus.  

The new cafe is located in a connector between the new Research Commons and the renovated space of the existing classroom building. This ‘link’ supports a cafe, book store, and mail room to become a crossroads for student and faculty interaction. It also allows a direct connection to and from the center of the campus and parking.


Photography © Peter Vanderwarker