project

Schweitzer Brentwood Branch Library

Originally constructed in the 1970’s as a residentially scaled facility, the original brick and gabled roof building resembles a ranch-style house popular from that time. A truly neighborhood library, the facility not only became known as “my library”, but outgrew it’s original structure and parking lot by 1995. As the strength of the library district grew, Brentwood Library continued to serve its dedicated patrons for another 15 years, evolving beyond the traditional storage of books to provide a central social and informational hub for southeast Springfield.

Working in collaboration with Clark Huesemann, a series of open forum meetings with staff and patrons were organized in order to determine the best approach to ensuring that Brentwood Library remains a relevant resource and neighborhood hub for another 40 years.  Although facility needs were extensive, including new mechanical systems, electrical systems, increased parking, a new drive up window, and improved interior layouts, virtually everyone agreed that the original character of Brentwood Library should not be compromised.

The solution provides a new glass reading room along the entry side of the building, allowing other programmatic functions to shift in the building plan to accommodate updated needs. The reading room increases the building’s transparency and daylight, while a vertical “beacon” marks the entrance with color and light. The interior was transformed by removing the original acoustic ceiling and fluorescent lighting in favor of exposing the building’s original steel trusses and implementing a new direct/indirect lighting scheme. Roof insulation that once resided on top of the ceiling tiles was replaced with spray foam insulation at the roof deck, thereby improving thermal performance. The newly opened plan is organized around three wood boxes, identifying the checkout, information and children’s areas. With LEED Silver Certification anticipated, the library capitalizes on improved thermal performance combined with increased access to daylight and views along with greater lighting and mechanical systems efficiency, improving the building’s performance by 25%.