A Building for All Ages

Fairfield Library

Fairfield Library

Henrico, Virginia

Located in an area of increased civic investment promoting equity for area residents, the design of the 44,000-sf Fairfield Library is inspired by an intersection of the philosophies of leading 20th century Black intellectual rivals W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington.

The design features are at once highly pragmatic and deeply delightful, drawing from the community’s past, embracing its present, and nurturing its future. The multi-functional spaces support a variety of learning styles and activities. This inclusive, welcoming, sustainable, and inspiring library is perfectly suited to the Fairfield community, to this historical moment, and to the future beyond.

A graphic of W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington.

Uniting Ideas

While W.E.B. DuBois championed academic learning as the best way for Black people to advance, Booker T. Washington emphasized skilled trades. County leadership challenged us to incorporate both ideas into the library’s design.

A photo of visitors in a library lobby.

Tailored to Community Needs

Extensive public engagement efforts revealed that the County’s prototypical library program would not meet the Fairfield community’s unique needs. Our design adds a life skills classroom, larger meeting and conference spaces, more study rooms in the teen area, and a one-button recording studio.

A photo of a reading room in a library.
A photo of a reading room in a library.

Accommodating Caregivers

We learned from community members that they often visit the library in multi-age groups. To help adults watch over children using different areas of the library, we placed a central vantage point for caregivers between the children’s and teen areas.

A parent and child in a joint carrel.
A photo of a mother and child using a study carrel together.

A Parent-Child Carrel

One of the goals of the Library Director was to make it easier for parents with small children to use library computers. In response, we collaborated with TMC Furniture to create a custom workstation with an attached play area that keeps children secure and entertained.

A graphic showing the decreased energy use of the new renovation of Fairfield Library vs historic one.

Saving Energy and Water

The new Fairfield Library is double the size of the library it replaced but uses less than half the energy per square foot – resulting in a 27% energy savings overall. The site incorporates water-saving measures such as no-irrigation plants.

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