Free Library of Philadelphia

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2012

The Free Library of Philadelphia, located on Logan Square along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, is a Beaux-Arts building dating from 1927. The objective of this project is to restore the existing building to its former glory and to add a new wing to accommodate expanded activity and the types of spaces not available in the existing library. The design strategy is to ensure that the addition and existing structure form a single integrated complex and to provide a unified spatial experience where the old flows seamlessly into the new, while maintaining the authenticity of the traditional and the contemporary architecture. A new reading room is formed between the north façade of the existing library and the curved wall of the south face of the new wing. Two bridges connect the original building to the new wing, and glass-enclosed passageways are carved through the closed stacks in the original library, connecting its main entry to the new wing. The ‘urban room’, lined with small shops, a café, meeting rooms and an auditorium, serves as the new north entry to the complex, complementing the existing south entry. It is contained by the north façade of the library’s new wing and a great domelike glass-and-steel structure. A public garden extends north towards Callowhill Street, serving the surrounding community.

Project Type: Library

Client: Free Library of Philadelphia

Size: 350000