Nearly a century after the original English Tudor-style library opened, Vocon was tasked with reimaging the historic building to better serve Cleveland’s West Park and Kamm’s Corners neighborhoods. The result is a modern campus environment that puts community, accessibility and flexibility at the forefront.
Public engagement sessions proved that the community was committed to protecting and preserving the original architecture of the Walker & Weeks building. Our design team took a thoughtful approach to this feedback and designed solutions to enhance the red brick, stone trim, slate roof, vaulted ceilings and leaded glass windows. Restoring the building also involved reconstructing an addition built on the back edge of the building in the 1970s. The new addition, which now acts as the main entrance to the library, features a brick façade, modern panel detailing and a slate-colored TPO roof. The library’s two levels are now fully accessible and feature a new staircase to the lower level and an elevator.
Since the Cleveland Public Library maintains a high-density distribution center that services over two dozen campus locations, our design team could view this campus as a community living room instead of a house for physical media collections. Furniture within the space is entirely flexible – the stacks of physical media, employee workstations, computer desks and seating can all be moved to accommodate community programs and special events. A new outdoor courtyard also expands the campus’ programming space and creates an environment where the community can gather and interact.
Our design team leveraged the lower level to create expanded destinations for children and teens. These areas were designed to provide a fun and engaging environment for learning and exploration. It includes interactive displays, a maker space with tools and materials for hands-on activities and a computer lab with virtual reality capabilities. The area also has various seating – from quiet nooks for reading and studying to larger group collaboration spaces – and bright colors create a lively and inviting atmosphere.
2023 Properties Magazine “Returning a Classic”
“We are trying to keep pace and lead some library trends. We see the library of today and the future as less of a house for the collection and more of a community living room - versatile, reconfigurable spaces that can flex and meet needs.”