Knoxville Library reopens on Saturday
Abundant daylight and welcoming open space mark the eco-friendly transformation of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh-Knoxville. The library will unveil the renovation during a community celebration on Saturday, June 25, from 10 a.m. -2 p.m.
Located at 400 Brownsville Road, the library was designed by former Carnegie Mellon School of Architecture Chair Paul Schweikher and has been in continuous operation since 1965. Visitors can take tours, register for the library's 90,000-book Summer Reading Challenge, and enjoy refreshments and a variety of activities for all ages, including teens with The Labs @CLP.
"We want more and more residents to take advantage of the free resources available to them at the library and to 'feel at home' when they are there. The renovations reflect suggestions shared at community meetings the library and the architect held to create this comfortable, fully accessible neighborhood gathering space," says Mary Frances Cooper, president and director, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.
In its creative reuse of this decades –old building, architects at GBBN/EDGE studio of Pittsburgh respected the brutalist architecture's two large and dramatic skylight roof forms and softened the fortress-like front façade with a "relevant now" design. Perforated panels made from recycled materials are placed in front of new floor-to-ceiling windows preserving the building's historic appearance while filtering light into the space. Prior to the renovation, the skylights were the only source of interior sunlight.
"I am so thrilled to see all of the amazing work and improvements at the CLP-Knoxville branch. What an asset to the community this space and its many services will prove to be for years to come,» says District 3 City Councilman Bruce Kraus.
At night, an interactive light installation created by Pittsburgh's Ultra Low Res Studio, and installed behind the perforations animates the library's façade. A program is being developed that will allow teens to customize the lighting animation.
"The library clearly understands that space and architecture can support their larger vision. We completely reorganized the interior with comfort and function in mind to accommodate expanding services and programs," notes Anne Chen, AIA, LEED AP, project designer, GGBN/EDGE studio.
The open plan of the first floor has views to the exterior. Elements within the architecture such as a cushioned seat in a recessed nook and playful screens to separate the adult, teen and children areas reflect the library's goal to enhance the patrons' overall experience in interesting and compelling ways.
With the additional 900 square feet of useable space and a new outdoor deck for the Children's Area with a decorative "fence" to buffer Brownsville Road and expanded space for teens and adults areas, the renovated library now offers expanded and more intimate space for children, teen and adult areas.
"While it is not a lot of new space," Ms. Chen adds "it makes a lot of difference in how the space can be used."
A renovation of the previously underutilized lower floor allows for one large and one smaller community meeting room and more functional staff areas. Restrooms on both floors plus the addition of an elevator provide improved access to both levels.
The project was designed to LEED standards, Ms. Chen notes, and sustainable elements were used throughout the building. LED light fixtures and a variable refrigerant flow (VRF) heating and cooling system were designed for efficiency. Despite more windows and space, double insulated glass and insulation of exterior walls are expected to produce significant energy savings.
"I'm proud and pleased to see the progress the Knoxville community is making, and the vote of confidence in the future that the new Carnegie Library branch represents," says Dennis Yablonsky, CEO, Allegheny Conference on Community Development. "Mt. Oliver/Knoxville is one of seven communities supported by the Allegheny Conference's Strengthening Communities Partnership. We're proud to work with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Economic Development South and our other partner organizations to connect people to opportunity throughout our region."
A Green Infrastructure Grant from the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority provided landscaping at the exterior that not only is visually appealing but also increases storm water management capabilities, filtering storm water runoff and preventing erosion on the slope of the building site.
In addition to the Green Infrastructure Grant, major capital funding for the CLP-Knoxville renovation came from Allegheny County's Community Infrastructure and Tourism Fund (CITF), the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's Keystone Recreation Parks and Conservation Fund and Neighborhood Assistance Program, Jack G. Buncher Supporting Organization of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh; Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Libraries for LIFE Capital Campaign Contributors, Duquesne Light and UPMC Health Plan.
Shannon Construction was the project's general contractor. MTG Roofing was the contractor for the CITF grant. Imperial Construction Services provided owner's representatives services.