The Sobrato Family Learning Commons at St. Francis High School was a finalist in Interior Design magazine’s 8th annual Best of Year Awards in the Education: Library category. This year’s awards program experienced record-breaking numbers with 1,800 submissions—50% more than last year! On December 5, more than 900 people from the design community (designers and manufacturers) gathered while hosts Editor-in-Chief Cindy Allen and Publisher Mark Strauss announced winners. The Sobrato Family Learning Commons competed against Johns Hopkins University Brody Learning Commons and two University of Pennsylvania projects, one of which received the award. Check out all of the project winners and honorees >>

The Sobrato Family Learning Commons addresses St. Francis’ growing need for expanded study and collaboration space. The new 29,300 two-story facility replaces the existing library and includes the renovation and modernization of the adjacent classroom building. On the first floor, the student center promotes engagement with the multiple student support departments, including the Campus Ministry, Activities, and Guidance and Counseling offices. On the second floor, students enjoy a spacious 11,000-SF library that features state-of-the-art technologies and flexible meeting space configurations. The library has a thoughtful blend of access with appropriate levels of privacy needed for student research, individual study, and group academic development. The expanded library is two and a half times larger than the existing library and increases the school’s educational capacity. Both the student center and library required large open areas to maximize the flexibility of its uses. To accommodate this, the building structure was designed with moment frame connections to avoid the use of brace frames interrupting the interior spaces.