Yorktown, Virginia

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Modern library with a nod to the historical surround

The single-story Yorktown Library was originally constructed in 1983 and is located along the George Washington Memorial Highway that takes travelers into our nation’s historic colonial district. The important colonial settlements of Yorktown, Jamestown, and Williamsburg comprise what is known as the Historic Triangle.

The exterior of the building was composed in red brick with burnished block accents and the interior features a rich wood ceiling, beams, and columns. Although the original building does not have many exterior windows, natural light enters the center of the interior space through a long clerestory window.

Adjacent land, purchased by the Library, allows us to re-orient the parking lot and expand the building while maintaining access roads to the east and west of the site. The proposed expansion addresses the main road into historic Yorktown and features an expansive glass façade that highlights new activity within the building. This type of visibility generates interest and attracts visitors and residents passing by on this primary thoroughfare. The form of the addition reflects the angled elements along the west façade of the original building and encloses the 3 archways that currently signify the main entrance. A new entry will be developed in alignment with the new parking area for intuitive flow.

One of the archways has remaining storefront glass and will be repurposed as a window into the technology training room. The remaining arches will be open to flow between the original and expanded portions of the building acting as a gateway into the Adult Area. The addition houses a new prominent Reading Room adjacent to the entry, new enclosed Children’s Area, Children’s Program Room, Teen Area, Large Meeting Room, Vending Café, Restrooms, and Lobby with a Service Point and New Materials display.

The blending of old and new is reflected in the expansion by using traditional forms with contemporary details such as a gabled form with an exterior cornice along a façade that introduces a wood look combined with brick and a more modern dark metal treatment at the windows. Surrounding buildings in the area are primarily composed of heavy timber with metal detailing. We studied the surrounding area to develop a palette that would signify something new while keeping with the feel of the community.


HBM │ Design Architect, Architect of Record, Interior Designer