The Library is designed as a community “living room” and offers spacious views of its interior to draw the public in.

Its central urban location and simple rectangular form responds to the community of homes and office buildings in which it serves. Daylit spaces invite the greater neighborhood of Libbie Mill to enter and stay a while.


  • 60,000 SF Community Library
  • Designed in partnership with Tappé Architects
  • LEED Silver
  • Urban campus


  • AIA Richmond 2016 Honor Award Recipient


The building site was specifically chosen to allow the library to be oriented with a primary east-west axis, and the Library’s massing and fenestration were developed to take advantage of this axis. Active daylit patron spaces are concentrated on the north and east sides of the library, taking advantage of the expansive views to the landscaped lake area and the associated ambient cooling it provides. The east-west orientation of the building allows for minimal surface area on the east and west facades, thus greatly reducing internal heat gains during summer months. The long south façade of the building capitalizes on thermal gains during the winter months.


Reinforcing the Library’s themes of transparency and connectedness, glass is used extensively inside the Library. Where dictated by functional requirements, full height glass partitions provide physical separation without compromising views from one space to another. Larger spaces, such as the Children’s Program Room and Digital Media Lab, have articulating glass partitions that provide necessary enclosure when use demands and maximum program flexibility when open.  
Other smaller program areas have been designed to feel like rooms within a room – architectural elements inserted into the larger volume of the library. The glass and wood partitions that define the group study rooms don’t rise to the ceiling plane above, but rather are capped by wood-clad ceiling planes that create an intimate scale appropriate to its purpose. 

The Children’s Area is designed to not only instill a love of books and reading but also be a tactile, interactive, and hands-on learning center. Rather than a specific thematic approach, these spaces are designed to invite imagination and inspire creativity.Playful elements like upholstered seesaws, mobile interlocking stools, and other child-scaled furniture can be moved for the children to make the Library a place of their own.The Teen Area is designed for everything from class projects to just hanging out. In addition to dedicated desktop computers, the space is equipped with the same collaborative digital technology found in the rest of the Library.The Collaboration Zone was strategically placed between Adults and Teens, recognizing that both patron groups would take advantage of its possibilities. Numerous types of seating and table groupings fill the space, reinforcing this as a unique destination in the Library.Where the stair reaches the second level, the floor is held back from the exterior wall, thus creating a two-story atrium offering patrons an unobstructed view of the public lakefront terrace and the community beyond.