Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Hillsboro Shute Park Branch Library Renovation in Oregon by Hennebery Eddy Architects, Inc.
March 17th, 2015 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Hennebery Eddy Architects, Inc.
After 40 years of constant use Shute Park Branch Library had devolved into a dark, cluttered, and inefficient interior space that had little connection to its namesake park. This comprehensive renovation included a complete reorganization of the floor plan and was based on the integration of three transformative characteristics -establishing a new relationship to the park, openness, and natural light.
New Relationship to the Park
Relocating the main entrance to the west elevation established a strong relationship to the park and in combination with a plaza, landscaping, and benches extends the public open space to the library’s front door.
The once windowless west facade is now defined by a 100’ long graphic anthem that celebrates both park and library. From a distance, the ceramic frit glass pattern appears to be old growth tree rings from native Western Red Cedar, Douglas Fir, and Giant Sequoia trees. Up close, the tree rings reveal themselves to be the first lines of books, poems, and songs, adding a graphic dimension and literary meaning to the west wall. Library patrons and staff contributed hundreds of first lines for the architects to incorporate into the art piece.
The renovation of the Shute Park Branch followed the expansion of the Main Hillsboro Library – which siphoned off half of the staff from Shute Park. As a result, it was critical for the renovated library to enable a small staff to provide the same level of service to patrons while also addressing efficiency and security requirements. New RFID and Automated Material Handling systems were also included in the renovation to help staff handle the load of circulation items.
The reorganized floor plan is defined by an open expanse of seating and low book stacks that extend the entire length of the library. This enables patrons to easily navigate the interior while allowing library staff to monitor the space from one central location. Support spaces and staff areas form a bar along the southern edge of the new plan.
Oppressively low hanging metal HVAC ducts and light fixtures were removed,accentuating areas with high ceilings and clerestory windows. Restored with insulated glazing, the saw-tooth shaped, north wall of glass is now visible throughout the library and is home to a variety of seating groups providing close up views of the park’s large stand of fir trees.
By removing interior impediments, restoring the north wall and clerestory glazing, and introducing glass on the south and west facades, natural light now tracks across the library interior throughout the day – a welcome presence in the often gray Pacific Northwest.
A restrained palette of materials, fixtures, furniture, and colors is employed in deference to the abundance of natural light and the landscape palette of the surrounding park.
Sustainable Design Intent & Innovation
The renovation of Shute Park Branch Library retains the bones of the 1974 structure and much of its embodied energy, while incorporating a broad range of sustainable measures. These include energy efficient light fixtures with occupancy sensors and day lighting controls; zero VOC paints and adhesives; use of materials with recycled content; and increasing the insulation value of the exterior skin, part of which is the innovative west elevation—a fusion of art and sustainability realized in heat mitigating ceramic frit glass. The new entrance canopy and trellis also help minimize heat gain along the west elevation.
Summary: Energy reduction strategies focused on three areas—exterior skin, day lighting, and HVAC/lighting systems.The existing building, constructed in the mid-70s, had a very inefficient building skin with little insulation in the walls and roof with single pane glass throughout; therefore, improving the performance of the exterior skin was the first priority. Natural light levels were increased throughout the library by removing enclosed rooms along the north wall while also introducing new glazing on the south and west elevations. Energy efficient fluorescent and LED light fixtures were installed with daylight and occupancy sensors.
100% of rainwater from the parking lot, paved areas, and the roof is filtered onsite. Potable water use gallons/sf/yr = 3.00g/sf/yr (43.02 kgal/yr). 21% regulated potable water reduction from baseline.
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