Orange Branch Library in Delaware, Ohio, Draws Thousands of New Customers
Dynamic use of stone, wood, metal, and glass highlights award-winning new building
A new branch library in Delaware, Ohio, drew nearly 7,000 new customers in Orange Township in its first two months of operation, according to Delaware County Library District Director Mary Jane Santos. The 33,000-square-foot library, which opened in mid-May and was designed by the Elgin, Illinois, office of Dewberry, showcases sustainable building strategies as well as design concepts that reflect the architectural vernacular of central Ohio.
The library has received two design awards in recent weeks. The Northeast Illinois chapter of the American Institute of Architects presented its Distinguished Building Award to Dewberry, commending the library’s design details and use of wood and natural light. The Association of Licensed Architects presented Dewberry with its top annual award, the Don Erickson Presidential Award, along with a Silver Medal for design excellence.
The Orange Branch Library is located within a growing residential area and is designed as a community gathering place for all ages. Highlights include a large, glass-enclosed study room with a stone fireplace, a meeting room, an expansive children’s area with a dedicated storytelling room, a teen space featuring a glass garage door, a café, a self-service area for hold pick-up and checkout, drive-up and book drop serving windows, and outreach services including a bookmobile garage.
“The children and adults love to gather to play games and interact socially with their friends, old and new, in a facility that was designed to encourage and inspire a feeling of community,” says Santos. “We received comments such as, ‘It’s beautiful and feels warm and inviting, even though it’s huge!’ This branch will remain comfortable, beautiful, and well used for years to come.”
Building materials include a Northern Ohio blue vein stone, which is used throughout the interior and exterior, and was hand-shaped by skilled masons on site. The library’s distinctive, angular roof forms were inspired by the Midwestern region’s agricultural structures; while the building’s rich palette of stone, wood, metal, and glass complements the vernacular of the region’s architecture and natural resources—such as nearby wood and metal buildings and the limestone bluffs along the Olentangy River.
The dramatic, double-sided fireplace serves as a focal point for the library, and was inspired by the stone walls of the nearby Liberty Presbyterian Church. Three projecting stone and glass bays enable patrons to relax and enjoy the views of the surrounding natural setting. The solid wood structural purlins, as well as a custom horizontal wood slat wall system, wood display cases, and furniture, are all produced from Douglas Fir harvested in an FSC-certified forest in northern Washington state.
The abundance of glass allows for extensive daylight harvesting, one of many “green” features that are designed to meet LEED® certification standards. Other sustainable elements include a cantilevered rain scupper and chain system that facilitates collection of stormwater runoff into bio-retention basins, and an Active Chilled Beam/Dedicated Outdoor Air System (DOAS) parallel heating/cooling system.
“Constructing a ‘green’ building with low energy costs and sustainability was of primary importance to the Board of Trustees, and the building’s design and implementation respected and embraced their wishes,” stated Santos shortly after the library’s opening. Noting that the team at Dewberry had designed a facility that “perfectly embodies our vision,” Santos says “they understood the functionality of a public library and were quick to adapt to my goals. Dewberry’s only goal was to create a beautiful and well-designed building that would make all of us proud.”
Dewberry served as the library planner and designer for the Orange Branch Library, providing schematic design, design development, and interior design services. MKC Associates served as the architect-of-record, providing construction documents and construction administration services. This is the second time the two firms have collaborated on an award-winning library project in Ohio: the team’s design of the restoration and adaptive reuse of the Piqua Public Library in downtown Piqua earned a 2010 Ohio Historic Preservation Office Award.
Other design team members included Korda for structural engineering; M-Engineering for mechanical/ electrical/plumbing engineering; EDGE for landscape architecture; and Civil & Environmental Consultants for civil engineering. Elford, Inc. of Columbus, Ohio, served as the general contractor.
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