Photo by Jeff Goldberg/Esto Photography
Tidewater Joint Use Library, Virginia Beach, Va.

A joint-use public partnership, the library serves both Tidewater Community College and the City of Virginia Beach and required the team to meet the programmatic needs of both users. The facility combines the research capacity, pedagogy support and study rooms of academic libraries with the extensive popular collections and community-oriented destinations of public libraries. The design features a long, thin building footprint of 125,000 sq ft spread over two stories and the length of a football field. As the eastern gateway to the campus, the library's two-story entry is a marker that aligns with a pedestrian axis connecting library to campus.

The design incorporates a sweeping "arc" brick facade and corridor intersected by rectangular sloping glass cubes. The building contains multiple roof levels, cantilevered bays and clerestory windows along the arc. Interiors have undulating wood ceilings, curved soffits and window pockets.

Given the design's complexity, the team was challenged to determine how the planes and materials would intersect. During preconstruction, the team identified strategic allowances in the GMP to prevent costly change orders later on. For example, there were many straight steel segments in curved wall sections that were either mocked-up or benchmarked for construction and later worked out in the field.

Natural site features were incorporated with 300,000 sq ft of open space preserved or enhanced. Existing drainage ditches were transformed into retention ponds that absorb all site rainwater and form a wetland habitat for migratory birds. The project is certified LEED Gold.

Higher Education/Research: Award of Merit - Tidewater Joint Use Library, Virginia Beach, Va.

Key Players

OWNER Tidewater Community College

Design Architect Carrier Johnson + CULTURE

Construction Manager At Risk Gilbane Building Co.

Architect of Record RRMM Architects

Interior Design Anderson Brulé Architects

Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing PACE Collaborative

Civil Engineering C. Allan Bamforth Jr.

Structural Engineering Stroud Pence

Landscape Architecture In Sites