Greenwich Library Addition and Renovation+ expand detail
Greenwich, Connecticut, USA
100,000 square feet / 9,000 square meters
This addition to the Greenwich Library joins the original 1931 building and a 1960 addition. The design is respectful of the new building’s context, of the urban qualities of the surroundings, and of the civic nature of the public library. With two large curved areas of glass, each one overlooking a small open courtyard, the building is transparent, friendly and welcoming.
Although the site is at the edge of the retail center of Greenwich, almost all patrons of the library arrive by car, and many are dropped off and picked up. Such drop-offs and pick-ups are not allowed on the street because of its heavy traffic. This dictated that the main entrance of the library be towards its parking lot. A street entrance for pedestrians is on the original building, and the Library presents a very urban façade to the street.
Upon entering, patrons are greeted by a Welcome Center and continue along a circulation path called Main Street, which is defined by a double row of columns visible from the entrance. The east end of Main Street ends in a new reading area located along a large, curved, glass wall facing an open garden. Patrons can ascend to the second level on elevators or via a dramatic metal and wood curved stair suspended from the ceiling. A counter curved, two-story glass wall serves as a backdrop for the stair. The glass wall views onto a courtyard, open to the sidewalk, where an existing large oak tree has been preserved.
The New Book area is in a two-story public gathering space, while another public gathering space on the second level offers views of the expanded gallery through the glass entry wall. The Children’s Room is a comfortable, friendly place with child-sized furniture in the form of train cars, while the Program Room features a fiber optic ceiling display of a starry sky.
At the eastern end of the building, by the main entry driveway, the building includes a new reading room in a sculptural form that combines the geometries of a triangle and a circle. This element marks the main auto entrance and announces the special character of the new Greenwich Library.