Originally designed by Henry Hobson Richardson in 1876, the Woburn Library was in need of an expansion in order to accommodate the city’s growing population. The 2019 renovation and expansion of the existing 19,700-square-foot library employed a creative design process, which sought to augment — not compete with — Richardson’s original building. The design team undertook efforts to restore and preserve historical features, including individual renewal and refurbishing of more than 100 window sashes, a visit to the quarry in Ohio where the original limestone for the building was sourced, and use of technology that allowed the team to design the new construction with precision.
A 30,500-square-foot addition, the completed renovation offers a contemporary expansion that integrates with the existing structure, preserving original architectural intent and views, and featuring a light-filled glass connector. Elevating pedestrians to a level of the historical façade previously inaccessible, the connection illuminates exterior details, while introducing new passageways to maintain spatial continuity and a patron experience between the existing building and the new.
Key staff control points are strategically placed throughout the floor plan, allowing the size of the building to double in size without requiring the library to double its staff. A mezzanine level housing individual study rooms, archives collection, and research space as well as an expansive new children’s library and community multi-purpose space expands the space above and below to introduce new resources. Externally, horizontal lines of the new façade complement the stone banding of the existing building and reinforce a cohesive composition.