Clark County Public Library Renovation
McCall Sharp Architecture
Posted: July 22, 2020 | Projects
For many years, the Clark County Public Library trustees and staff struggled with functional building issues along with technology-driven changes. Problem areas identified were an uninviting entrance and poor circulation flow.
Photo courtesy of Stephen Sharp/McCall Sharp Architecture
McCall Sharp Architecture designed this project to create attractive, clearly recognizable building entrances, improved circulation, a casual meeting space, a maker space, and a developed purpose for the rotunda, which had stood empty for nearly 30 years. Overall, 4,950 square feet of entrance, circulation, and rotunda were added to the structure. An additional 6,550 square feet of the existing rotunda, patron wing and administration areas were also renovated.
The immediate problem was that the entrance from the parking lot was buried in the juncture where the library wings met. This area was nondescript and lacking any definition, which made the primary building entrance extremely difficult to find for the first-time visitor. That visitor would eventually make his way to the other primary entrance — through the rotunda — which faced east, toward downtown.
The solution was the creation of a new serpentine (or curvilinear) concourse connecting the downtown entrance, facing east, to the parking lot entrance, facing west. The change promotes a sense of progression. This new concourse offers a peek into spaces beyond, and an efficient and obvious path to the patron wing of the library. It features a pop-up roof with clerestory windows that illuminate the space with natural illumination. The new corridor’s other purpose is to divert circulation around the three-story rotunda so it can become a programmable activity space.
Now both entrances are clearly identified by a modern expression of tall and bright reflective aluminum portals that reach out to the curb, as much as possible, to protect the pedestrian. The concourse is non-institutional, welcoming, and guides patrons directly to the books and media wing. Aluminum panels were chosen to provide a strong visual contrast against the various brick styles on the building exteriors.
To reinforce the contrasting appearance of aluminum, all 350 lineal feet of rotting wood pergola were replaced with aluminum framing in the same pattern. This preserved the repetitive shadow pattern cast upon the adjacent brick wall. The natural aluminum pergola is on both library wings and reinforces the tendency of the eye to be directed toward the new entrance. The original pergola did not provide any weather protection, which staff requested. Translucent reinforced panels were also installed on the pergola.
The new circulation concourse purposefully angles through the formality of the existing building. Consequently, small community rooms were created — in all shapes and sizes — with tables and chairs that may easily be arranged for small or medium size groups. These rooms line the length of the concourse with floor-to-ceiling glass walls which invite openness as well as create safe and secure rooms. Previously, the large public meetings were held in the 60-seat Gaier Room. By simply absorbing a perimeter corridor, the Gaier Room was increased in size to potentially hold 90 people. Most importantly, by incorporating the corridor, the Gaier Room gained the corridor windows with all their natural daylighting.
In addition to creating welcoming entrances, a viable use for the three-story-tall, acoustically uncomfortable rotunda had vexed the library staff for decades. Although impressive from the street, it was a very awkward and acoustically challenged room. The acoustician directed sound-absorbing wall and ceiling panels at strategic locations and replaced sound-reflecting ceramic floor tile with carpet. The physical space was enlarged by bringing the exterior porches surrounding the rotunda into the central space.
Enlarging the rotunda allowed inclusion of a maker space for youth and a lounge for all patrons. Now the rotunda is a welcoming space filled with sun and invites youth and adults to gather. Today, patrons may enjoy a refreshment, study, or just hang out before proceeding to cozy community rooms or to books and media. Within the maker space and community rooms are multiple data ports, power for chargers, and carefully selected furnishings to promote comfort and space intent. Before, the echo was deafening, now the users work at laptops and engage in lively conversation.
The remaining priorities were to provide for emerging technologies, access to digital collections, adapting for age-specific needs, and the building’s environmental impact. Permeable concrete paving mitigated the need for new storm drainage piping. Incandescent and HID lighting were replaced with high-efficient LED lighting to reduce heat gain and improve energy use. Lighting controls were not working and were replaced with daylight harvesting features. The 30-year-old chiller unit was replaced with a new efficient model that also solved a cooling problem in the rotunda. The pneumatic HVAC control system was replaced with an electronic DDC control system that now allows remote computer monitoring.
For some, a library is the singular source for information and technology, and for all, an essential resource for the entire community. In this project, McCall Sharp Architecture’s role was to design the 21st Century resources for tomorrow’s possibilities.
Building Envelope: Dimensional Metals, Inc.
Windows & Daylighting/Skylights: Duo-gard Industries
Entrances & Storefronts: Kawneer North America, Record-USA
Interior: Hytex Industries, Snap-Tex
McCall Sharp Architecture
100 E. Main Street
Springfield, OH 45502
Eeman & Blinn, Inc.
6037 Frantz Road, #103
Dublin, OH 43017
Mechanical & Electrical Engineer
ELH Engineering, Inc.
2071 N. Bechtle Avenue, #205
Springfield, OH 45504
Greater Dayton Construction Ltd. Dba Oberer Thompson Co.
4197 Research Boulevard
Beavercreek, OH 45430
The Greenbush Group
209 Oxford Road
Franklin, OH 45505
Library Design Associates, Inc.
10046 Brewster Lane
Powell, OH 43065
Date Bid: Nov 2015
Construction Period: Mar 2016 to Jan 2017
Total Square Feet: 11,500
Site: 4.3 acres.
Number of Buildings: One.
Building Sizes: First floor, 11,500; total, 11,500 square feet.
Building Height: First floor, varies 8′2″ to 13′9″; total, 40′.
Basic Construction Type: 2A/Renovation.
Foundation: Pier & grade beam.
Exterior Walls: Aluminum panels.
Interior Walls: Metal stud drywall.