The Haish Memorial Library was the community’s public library since its 1930 construction. It is a gem of a building on the National Register of Historic Places. Tripling its size, without compromising its integrity, was a primary challenge.
A street was closed to allow for the horizontal expansion necessary to limit the addition’s height to that of the original library. The existing courtyard geometry was adapted to create the plan for the expansion. A new central entry courtyard leads to a transparent lobby that frames an exterior wall of the original building, giving it a new vitality in daily library activities.
Other design strategies are rooted in the original library architecture. The lobby’s twisting columns abstract an original carved stone detail and reference the barbed wire industry that funded the Haish Library. The shallow figural detailing of exterior wall panels recalls the elegant Deco-Moderne detailing of the original architecture. This project also restores the lost beauty of the original building through a restoration of original finishes and the installation of new lighting that allow the building to be newly appreciated.
The Library’s program addresses several trends in public library design including the definition of age-appropriate children and young adult areas, and the incorporation of technology and media systems not otherwise available to library users.
The Library’s LEED Silver certification evidences a sustainable approach to design. The building’s most sustainable features are the site and architectural design strategies. It will be a meaningful place for the community for generations to come.