The original Carnegie Library was built in 1903. The structure is clay tile/concrete rib joist construction bearing on load-bearing masonry. The library was greatly expanded in 1988 to its present size. This expansion encompassed a below-grade parking garage with three stories of above-grade building to house the library’s collection. The library was reconfigured to better serve the library patrons who use the collection of books, audio recordings, and DVDs and who use the new computers to access the internet.
The structure is composed of steel beams supporting concrete slabs on a composite metal deck. The library was clad with precast panels. The renovation removed many of these to open the interior to daylight, with new curtain walls on three sides. The lobby atrium was enlarged, and the stairs and elevators were reconfigured for a more open environment. Six bays of the third floor were removed to create an open two-story event space on the second floor. New balconies in this area look out onto the adjacent topiary park.
The biggest structural challenge was to design the removal of two columns between the second floor and the roof to accommodate the removal of the third floor in that area. Removing the third floor allowed for a dramatic two-story space with floor-to-ceiling windows with a great view of the park. This had to be accomplished without disrupting the mechanical and electrical operations in the penthouse supported by the two columns that had to be removed. SMBH designed the new structure to be economically constructed without disturbing the mechanical and electrical operations.
The project was designed with a phased delivery to accommodate a very short schedule. The renovation was completed in less than 20 months to accommodate a national librarian convention scheduled for August 2016.