Santa Clara University

Harrington Learning Commons, Sobrato Technology Center & Orradre Library

Santa Clara, California

Constructed on the site of the original 44-year-old Orradre Library, the new learning center was envisioned as a converged University information resource, creating a media-rich environment for a sophisticated, mobile user population. The technology systems incorporated in the structure both enable and enhance the development of collaborative learning and work styles through extensive videoconferencing and technology-enabled workrooms. The building consolidates under one roof, the formerly dispersed resources and staff from the former Information Technology, Library and Media Services. While its interior is highly contemporary, its exterior of plaster, tile, wood and travertine, acknowledges the campus’ Mission-style vernacular, creatively blending the past and the future. The tower, marking the learning center’s main entrance, serves as a place-making icon on campus, its copper roof referencing that of the nearby historic Mission Santa Clara de Asis.

Project Data

194,000 sf

Program & Highlights

24-7 information commons
Collaborative work rooms
Faculty development and multimedia labs
Student multimedia facilities
Incubator spaces for new technology experimentation
Info literacy/technology training rooms
University archives and special collections
Exhibit space
Indoor/outdoor café
Automatic Retrieval System (ARS) with a capacity of 1.1 million volumes


2008 ProAV Best Education AV Project Award
Bette-Lee Fox, “Library Buildings 2008: Keeping the ‘ECO’ in Economy,” Library Journal, December 15, 2008

“ . . . the Learning Commons’ combination of traditional library elements . . . and quite contemplative spaces, coupled with the most modern computing and communication technologies and both structured and informal collaborative spaces, fulfills our vision, and satisfies our hopes, extremely well. The building buzzes with activity at all times of the day, faculty old office hours in collaborative rooms, students bring their parents and friends to show a favorite space . . . it’s difficult to imagine Santa Clara without this marvelous new structure.”
— Ronald L. Danielson, Vice Provost for Information Services and Chief Information Officer, Santa Clara University


Construction Manager: Devcon Construction Incorporated
Civil Engineer: BKF Engineers
Structural Engineer: Forell/Elsesser Engineers, Inc.
MEP: WSP Flack + Kurtz
IT & AV: Sextant Group
Acoustics: RS Acoustics, Inc.
Lighting: Horton Lees Brogden Lighting Design, Inc.
Landscape Architect: The Guzzardo Partnership, Inc.
Photographer: Tim Griffith