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Skillman Library has been chosen by The American Institute of Architects (AIA) to receive a 2006 Institute Honor Award for Interior Architecture. Neil McElroy, director of libraries and information technology services, will accept the award June 8 at the AIA 2006 National Convention and Design Expo in Los Angeles.

The AIA National Honor Awards is the most prestigious awards program for architecture in the United States. The AIA received over 600 submissions this year.

Last year, Skillman received the Boston Society of Architects’ top award, the Honor Award for Design Excellence, as well as its Higher Education Facilities Design Award.

“I’m pleased that the deep involvement of Lafayette’s students, faculty, staff, and trustees in the programming and design of the new Skillman Library resulted in such an effective and beautiful structure,” says McElroy. “I’m proud that the design qualities are being widely recognized by the architectural profession, but what is most important is that Skillman Library so clearly enhances teaching and learning at Lafayette, which was the chief objective of the project and the wish of its generous donors.”

Lafayette celebrated the $22 million expansion and renovation of Skillman with a rededication ceremony April 1. The project added 28,555 square feet and transformed almost every aspect of the interior and exterior. The building’s new and enhanced features including instruction rooms with computers and network connectivity, a formal reading room and a periodicals reading area overlooking the Quad, a special collections suite with expanded space for working with rare books and manuscripts, and a digital media lab with high-end technology.

The library also has a public program room for talks, readings, and film screenings, a cafe, 25 percent more seating capacity, 20 years of collection growth space, network access at virtually every seat, and improved staff work spaces.

Joining McElroy in accepting the AIA award will be Robert J. Miklos, who served as design principal for the project. Other important team members include Jonathan Cutler, project manager; Whitney Hudson, project architect; and Scott Slarsky and Andrew Wang, design team.

“The award means a lot to me as it is the highest recognition from peers but also as acknowledgement of Lafayette’s leadership and vision,” says Miklos. “It was a great pleasure for me to work with the entire Lafayette community. The renovations and additions to Skillman resulted in a complete transformation of the building. We believe it accomplished Neil McElroy’s vision to create an open, inviting ‘information studio,’ where students could find convenient access to many services as well as other social and cultural activities. It has become the most important place on campus for both social interaction and intellectual discourse.”

Miklos submitted Skillman for the award while still with Ann Beha Architects. He now leads his own firm, designLAB architects, in Boston. He has worked on projects for Bethlehem’s SteelStax Cultural Center, New York’s The Arkell Museum, the Daniel Arts Center at Simons Rock College, Boston Public Library, and Boston Atheneum.

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