Charlottesville, Virginia

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From a butler building warehouse to new library branch this adaptive re-use project brings new life to a tired old building

The new 37,320 SF Northside Library is an adaptive re-use project re-envisioning a Butler steel building erected in 1988 which previously served as a building supply warehouse. This project’s goal was to reconcile the nature of pre-engineered steel construction with the programming, spatial, and performance imperatives of a high functioning public library.

The exterior design is inspired by the surrounding industrial area and modernizes the Butler building creating an inviting face to the street. The interior design incorporates lightweight skylight systems that allow diffused natural light to fill the space and mix with warm colors and bright accents. Colors are used on the shelving end-panels as way-finding for each division of the collection

Providing after hours access to meeting rooms was important to the Library. A glass wall is used to secure the main portion of the library space while still creating transparency. This prevents the feeling of separation between the two spaces. The operable wall also provides a wider opening than standard doors so that during normal hours the library can spill over into the flexible / lounge area and study rooms.

The Northside Library also features a maker space with recording studio and 3D printer jointly used for teen and children’s programs. Additionally, a bookmobile garage and County storage area are located on the lower level.

Featured in American Libraries Magazine Design Showcase


HBM │ Design Architect, Architect of Record, Interior Designer