Free Library of Philadelphia - 21st Century Libraries
Award of Merit

Owner: Free Library of Philadelphia
Owner’s Representative: Stranix Associates
Lead Design Firm: The Vitetta Group
General Contractor: INTECH Construction
Structural Engineer/Civil Engineer: Hunt Engineering
MEP Engineer: Arora Engineers
Library Design Architect: JR Keller LLC

The simultaneous restoration and modernization of four historic prototype libraries was designed to redefine the Philadelphia Public Library as a central neighborhood resource.

The libraries include the Marrero Library (the flagship Carnegie Library), the Logan Library, Lovett Library and Tacony Library, which collectively serve 275,000 people annually.

Modernizing the libraries’ aging facilities and expanding programmatic outreach involved introducing energy-efficient automated building systems, such as energy efficient lighting controlled from a centralized system. The team says new sprinkler and security systems were also installed.

The $25.4-million, multiphased public-private project included building automated systems with remote monitoring and diagnostic capabilities.

The design of the restored libraries uses a combination of the original open-plan layouts, accessible additions and new movable furniture to make each library accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds. This flexibility in design allows the libraries to serve different programmatic needs, according to the team.

Before construction began, city officials altered contracting and workforce goals. To meet these new targets, the team says it matched small and minority business contractors to each project and managed some 40 subcontractors. The project team also  provided additional training for many small firms.

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