Photos by jose valcarcel
The design objectives for the renovation and restoration were to provide a state-of-the-art library and learning facility that would meet the program needs of the 21st century user. Several reading rooms, computer labs, and community meeting spaces were designed to fit within the historic structure.
Set within the historic Georgetown community, the 76 year-old building significant damage when a fire tore through the structure in 2007, destroying the roof and significantly damaging many of the historic elements. To create a 21st century library, the Architects sought to reorganize and re-prioritize the various collections, create the spaces to accommodate the programs and operations, develop a new technology infrastructure, create a series of open spaces with clearly legible connections, provide natural light and linkages to the exterior, and look for sustainable design opportunities.
As a contributing structure to the Georgetown Historic District, the design for the library was subject to extensive reviews in its entitlement process. The design emerged through a series of public meetings and dialogue between the design team, the library, and the community. All parties recognized the importance of preserving both the historic building and its place as an academic center in the community. The design team ultimately looked to the building itself for design strategies. Old areas generated dramatic new spaces – making the basement a spacious lower level, recreating the historic terraces at the front and rear, and using the generous height in a new roof to develop a third floor with spectacular views. While maintaining minimal impact to the historic fabric, this allowed for the expansion of the building, accommodating the library program and allowing for new spaces such as a public meeting room. The third level now houses the Peabody reading room and historic collection, providing display/curatorial space in a controlled environment. Upon completion, the library is a truly modern building that is respectful of its history, a scholastic destination, and extremely well received by its community.