Promoting Global Understanding and Diversity
Kean University conceived the Human Rights Institute as an educational center to promote global understanding and diversity through outreach to the academic and regional communities. The nature of the institute’s mission to become a prominent, interactive repository of information, programs, and resources made Kean’s Nancy Thompson Library an ideal location because of opportunities to share references and spaces common to both programs.
The institute, an exciting addition to the library, conveys its mission while preserving its distinct but interconnected role. The institute and library share a new light-filled entry finished with cast stone and wood panels, leading to three floors housing an open exhibition space, a large reading room featuring club seating and group work areas, study rooms, offices and two large seminar rooms that accommodate lectures, classes and administrative spaces. The design incorporates bamboo flooring, recycled carpet tiles, and clerestory windows to reinforce the message of international and environmental awareness. Slate treads of the staircase leading to the institute’s second floor reception area are engraved with universal messages from human rights leaders.