Publicly Accessible Buildings

Reading the times

Library renovation completes to reveal a sustainable design for today

by Niki May Young 08 December 2008


The Crandall Public Library will re-open on December 12, 2008 following an $18million renovation and expansion by Ann Beha Architects marking the culmination of more than a decade of planning by the Library staff and trustees.

The building was originally designed in 1931 by Charles Platt, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The renovation is designed to be Certified through the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Program.

ABA restored the original 12,600 sf building on City Park and provided a new 39,400 sq ft expansion fronting the City’s main commercial street, creating an inviting, open and accessible entrance with browsing area on the street and ample seating overlooking the park.

The addition along the park matches the height and scale of the adjacent historic building, and is conceived as connector piece or “bridge” clad primarily in glass. The three-storey addition on Glenn Street responds to the proportions and rhythms of the neighboring masonry buildings. A metal screen canopy cascades over the new entrance, providing shade for the windows behind as well as recalling the magnificent waterfall that gave Glens Falls its name.

The well-defined historic rooms have been outfitted with gas fireplaces and the central skylight, blocked during World War II, has been restored over the two-storey atrium in the historic library. The new addition, by contrast, features open planning with spaces that allow for flexibility and clear lines of sight, yet individual departments are given warmth and identity through color and light. The children’s space is more than triple the original size, and the basement level provides a large community room/theatre for special programs and events, a gallery and the Folk Life Archive and Study Center.

The project incorporates two major sustainable approaches: high efficiency mechanical systems and “daylight harvesting.” Careful placement of windows and light monitors brings natural light into most areas of the building, and a lighting control system automatically adjusts lights to compensate only as needed. Other sustainable elements include heat-absorbing roofing materials, the use of recycled salvaged and recyclable materials on the exterior of the new addition; and the use of locally harvested materials throughout.

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