The Dwight Branch of the Hartford Public Library had outgrown its space and sought greater visibility in the community. Located at a busy intersection in the heart of the Parkville neighborhood, the library is connected to the neighborhood school and faces a small plaza.
The project was planned to provide new and expanded features to enhance service to library patrons with: additional computer workstations for public use; a self-serve computer reservation station; a self-serve printing/copying station; additional children’s area with more space for afterschool homework activities; additional reading area and seating for adults; improved lighting and shading controls for visibility of computer screens; improved ventilation; and an outdoor performance area for warm weather programs.
The design expands and renovates the existing library with light-filled spaces that project outward into the plaza. The scale of the addition is visually reduced through the use of energy-efficient glass walls and the articulation of the perimeter walls, to reflect the scale of houses and storefronts in the neighborhood. The use of glass for the walls makes the activities and opportunities for learning within the library more visible and inviting to the surrounding community. The glass also promotes security at night by eliminating dark exterior corners and by illuminating the exterior public space with a warm glow.
Original aging pear trees on the plaza were replaced with trees more suitable to the urban environment, featuring a more vertical green canopy and similar flowering properties.