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Toledo, Ohio

Bronze Prize in the Starnet Commercial Flooring Awards and American Libraries Design Showcase 2020

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Transformation of an iconic Art Deco main library building



The goal of this project was to enhance the special historic detailing present in the library building. New ideas in library services and technology have repositioned spaces and functions to make them more readily accessible to customers, added new spaces that let customers learn and create, and increased the most popular areas for the public to enjoy.

The historic art deco Central Court features beautiful and irreplaceable vitralite glass panels, ornate original light fixtures, and wonderful historic murals that resonate throughout the building. We used the strong art deco geometric motifs and colors found in the Central Court as the basis of design for all new millwork (displays, service desks, and other cabinetry) throughout the library to tie into presence of the Central Court. At the core of this renovation we have built for flexibility. When community needs something different, the library can quickly and economically pivot.

Part of this project involves a complete reconceptualization of the spaces and services that can support entrepreneurs, local non-profit groups, job seekers, and people just looking for a creative outlet. The Workspace provides access to meeting spaces outside of library hours, allows non-profit and small businesses the opportunity for long-term space rental, and hosts workshops.

The Children’s Area has been fully re-vamped with new finishes, furniture, and lighting fixtures that have either been replaced or re-lamped. The collection layout has been reconfigured for improved browsing. The fixed service point has been reduced in size and a mobile service point has been added for flexible oversight during peak times. Highlights of this space include a Dr. Seuss gallery wall featuring original artwork and an interactive “mystery wall” engaging children in problem solving activities with visual and audio clues.

The Atrium was added as part of the 2001 expansion and acts as an important connector between the historic areas and the main collection wing of the library. This light filled space now has become a central gathering point off of which feeds the Gallery, Cafe, and Gift Shop.


HBM | Design Architect, Interior Designer and Architect of Record

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