Traveling along the winding Olentangy River road and through the rural landscape of Delaware County, inspiration can be found in the material of the stone walls, the form of the old barns, and the need for something both classic and contemporary. The Delaware County District Library requested a distinctive library that was contextual to the area and would serve their patrons in new and unique ways. The response is a formally simple and spatially complex building that creates dynamic and inclusive reading, gathering, and community spaces.
The large volume of the building is mitigated by both the traditional sloped gable forms of the roof, and the fact that a full floor of the building is below grade. The need for an efficiently stacked design was a direct result of the library’s expansive 42,000sf program, and the reality that the available site was a small part of a larger multi-use commercial development. As a catalyst for future growth in the area, the library provides many flexible community gathering spaces for everyone from children to adults, all organized around a central courtyard that bathes the interior spaces in natural light. The result is a collection of spaces that draws people for both information seeking and information sharing.
The most distinctive of the interior spaces are the adult reading room on the upper level, and the social stair near the children’s area that connects to the lower level. Both spaces engage the vertical experience of the building. The social stair achieves this by physically connecting the two levels, allowing children to sit, climb, gather, and learn as they navigate the spaces connected by the stair. The adult reading room on the upper level takes advantage of the cathedral-like gable roofs and presents an open structure with intersecting trusses that inspire the mullion pattern on the cross-gable windows. This contemplative space is both inspiring and calming, a space for visitors to feel at peace.
The interior utilizes a restrained material palette. Wood slats highlight the vertical experience at the main stair that connects to the upper level, and the social stair that connects to the lower level. Wood brings warmth, carpet bring softness, and colorful ceiling panels bring playfulness to the space, all of which exists in intentional contrast to the simplicity of the concrete, glass, and painted steel of the underlying structure. The result is a comfortable and durable space that quietly supports the inclusivity and longevity of a new gathering place for Delaware County residents.
Building Architecture- Large Scale (>10,000 sf)