HBM worked in conjunction with a commercial real estate and development agent to assist the Library in identifying and evaluating available sites within the City for the location of a new Main Library facility. The site selection process involved the analysis of 16 sites with a more detailed study of the four most feasible locations, ultimately resulting in the decision to renovate and expand their current building.

The current library building, while an exemplary example of classical architecture, has not been able to keep up with the explosion of library material and the evolution of social programs. The design for this new re-imagined library will allow continual growth within its walls to support the print material while becoming the community hub for Charleston.  

The design has been carefully conceived with consideration to blend old with new, to create an exciting cultural destination along Capitol Street, and most importantly to create a much more user friendly and flexible interior library space that can adapt, change, and grow over time as library services continue to expand.  

The 80,000 SF design will maintain an entrance from Capitol Street but also add a new fully ADA accessible entry from Summer Street with direct access to all floors of the library. In addition, there is a proposed walkway planned connecting to the adjacent parking garage. Space within will balance the book space with the people space and include such areas as browseable collections space, maker space, study rooms, meeting and gathering spaces, local history room, early childhood play learn and grow areas, and access to technology. We look forward to working with the community to seek input on the included spaces and design. 

Our creative team of Architects set out to reflect the new “Re-imagined Library Mission” with a dynamic and relevant new configuration marking this project’s special place in time. It was important that we preserve the original, classical building style while making the Kanawha County Public Library a national case study in the renovation of a traditional urban library.  

The visioning process began through discussions with the Library Ad Hoc Committee to define the scope of work, discuss project goals, and coordinate our approach to Program Validation, Stakeholder Engagement, and Facility Evaluation.
An initial stakeholder engagement session was conducted with more than 100 attendees during a Staff Development Day and gathered input from library staff, administration, and board members who were in attendance.  

Our team reviewed the previously completed 2002 building program and the 2011 Main Library Building Program Space Comparison documents and worked together with the Library and the Ad Hoc Committee to review and evaluate the program and make recommendations for revisions based on today’s thinking and current goals of the KCPL.

The Site / Building Analysis and Test Fit phase involved the collaboration with a real estate development consultant  who assisted our team with studying potential locations, analyzing conditions, opportunities for development, and assembling cost information for procuring these properties, which was added to the overall project cost information. 

Our team was joined by members of the Library’s Ad Hoc Committee on a series of site visits to potential locations for a new Main Library that could potentially be adapted to house a Main Library. We reviewed existing conditions of the current physical facilities where possible, including structural systems, exterior envelope, interior finishes, and mechanical / electrical / plumbing systems while identifying / studying any challenges or opportunities with the spaces. This exercise provided a basis of understanding of the existing conditions of the properties being considered. After site visits, analysis, and initial square footage and cost calculations, our team conducted test fits and conceptual adjacency diagrams for four properties including the existing Main Library building.

HBM │ Design Architect, Interior Designer

Silling Architects | Architect of Record

1382 West Ninth Street, Suite 300
Cleveland, Ohio 44113


© 2019 HBM Architects, LLC