Champaign Public Library

Location: Champaign, Illinois
Program: New Public Library
Status: Complete, 2008
Photography: © Hedrich Blessing, Craig Dugan
Selected Recognition: 2009 AIA Chicago Interior Architecture Award. 2009 AIA Illinois Frank Lloyd Wright Honor Award. 2008 AIA Central Illinois AIA Honor Award.

The new Campaign Public Library replaces a 40 year old, 40,000 sq. ft. building that had not kept pace with the growing needs of the community. The Library Board decided to remain on their existing site and help anchor the redevelopment of downtown. A new street was planned and built separating parking from the library and creating a traditional, pedestrian friendly urban edge around the building. The new building contains 121,000 square feet organized on two patron levels with the administration offices located on a third floor mezzanine. A 115 foot sky light leads the patron from the entry lobby to the various collections along the central stair. The Conference Center and Café are located off the main lobby.The Library was committed to construct an environmentally friendly building at an effective cost. The 16’ ceiling height in the main reading room helps harvest daylight. Solatubes provide additional day lighting. General lighting levels are controlled by a light sensing dimmer system. Patron and employee spaces benefit from views to the outside. Public spaces in the library are served by a low velocity, displacement HVAC system with under floor air distribution which saves energy and improves comfort. Natural materials are important to the design. Limestone is used for exterior cladding and interior walls to unite the outside and inside of the library. Bamboo, a rapidly renewable material, is used as flooring, wall, and ceiling finishes. Service desks, end panels and other interior furnishings are also crafted from bamboo and limestone. Clean line, modern furniture was selected to complement the architecture. Transparent, colorful end panels and furniture create a separate identity in the teen and children’s libraries.