Page B3.1 . 20 January 2010                     
ArchitectureWeek - Building Department
< Prev Page Next Page >



Cambridge Public Library

by James McCown

A stunning new addition has opened at the Cambridge Public Library in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Using ideas of transparency, inclusiveness, and efficiency as starting points, William Rawn Associates designed the glass-and-steel addition as a modernist foil to the original 1888 library by Van Brunt & Howe.

The older building's Richardsonian Romanesque style is all about ponderous granite and brownstone and circular geometry — arches, cylinders, and cones. The glass addition goes in the opposite direction aesthetically: it is light, transparent, crisp, and orthogonal. The new building is especially alluring at dawn and dusk, when a bright orange stairway shaped like a lightening bolt seems to hover weightlessly in the space behind the glass wall.

The project incorporates a number of sustainable design strategies and features. It has been submitted for LEED certification, and the architects are tracking a Silver rating. Ann Beha Architects served as associate architect, focused primarily on restoring the 27,200-square-foot (2,530-square-meter) historic library building.

Glass Skin from Germany

The most environmentally compelling and visually arresting feature of the 76,700-square-foot (7,130-square-meter) addition is its advanced double-skin curtain wall — the first comprehensive U.S. application of such a system by Gartner Steel and Glass GmbH, based in Würzburg, Germany.

In addition to providing depth and visual interest to the facade, the curtain-wall system transmits daylight deep into the building while maintaining thermal comfort throughout the region's seasonal extremes.   >>>

Discuss this article in the Architecture Forum...


ArchWeek Image

The new addition to the main branch of the Cambridge Public Library in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was designed by William Rawn Associates.
Photo: © Robert Benson Extra Large Image

ArchWeek Image

Ann Beha Architects collaborated with William Rawn Associates, working mainly on a major renovation of the original Richardsonian Romanesque library, designed by Van Brunt & Howe in 1887.
Photo: John D. Fischer Extra Large Image


Click on thumbnail images
to view full-size pictures.

< Prev Page Next Page > Send this to a friend       Subscribe       Contribute       Media Kit       Privacy       Comments
ARCHWEEK  |  GREAT BUILDINGS  |  ARCHIPLANET  |  DISCUSSION  |  BOOKS  |  BLOGS  |  SEARCH © 2010 Artifice, Inc. - All Rights Reserved