The renovation and expansion of this 1970s concrete library has transformed it into a 21st century civic place: from book repository to multimedia community hub.
The existing library, built in 1974, was uninviting due to poor thermal performance, lack of daylighting and openness. The expansion diagram is simple: a continuous community reading room wraps the original library on all sides, emphasizing places of spontaneous gathering, reflection and learning. The striking terra cotta façade also provides a high-performance thermal envelope engineered to harvest daylight and reduce energy usage. Openings at each corner reveal the library’s unique public amenities, including children’s cubbies, teen gaming zones, meeting spaces and a coffee bar. A community access recording studio supports Lawrence’s vibrant music culture, while an outdoor plaza accommodates a rich variety of library and community functions. Within a few months of reopening, user visits increased 55%, with youth program attendance up 160%.
Project will meet the 2030 Challenge with nearly 60% reduction in energy use over comparable building types in this region.
City of Lawrence, Kansas
20,000 sf addition; 50,000 sf renovation
Citation Award, AIA Central States, 2016
American Architecture Award, Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design, 2016
AIA/ALA Library Building Awards, 2016
Library Journal, Landmark Libraries Award, 2015
AIA Kansas, Honor Award for Excellence in Architecture, 2015
SELECTED PUBLICATIONS + MEDIA
"A Younger Public", Metropolis Magazine, January 2016
"7 Gorgeous New Libraries That Aren't Just About Books", Co.Design, April 2016
"7 Gorgeous New Libraries Show Us the Future of Book-Lending", Huffington Post, April 2016
"Lawrence Public Library", Architect Magazine, April 2016
"Gould Evans transforms Brutalist library into community hub", The Architect's Newspaper, June 2016
"U.S. Building of the Week", American-Architects, June 2016
"Most Beautiful Library in Kansas", Tech Insider, September 2016
"10 Most Beautiful Libraries on Earth", Wired Magazine, September 2016
Tim Griffith, Mike Sinclair: Photographers / Lawrence Public Library: Video