Woburn Public Library


SF Addition

Best of Boston Award
Boston Society for Architecture
Library Building Award
American Institute of Architects/American Library Association

Located on a prominent site in the center of Woburn, the Woburn Public Library was originally designed by architect Henry Hobson Richardson in 1876. Since the library originally opened, Woburn’s population has more than quadrupled and the existing 19,700-square-foot library is no longer able to accommodate the city’s expanding needs. 

The simplicity and elegance of the 30,500-square-foot addition is a quiet backdrop to the existing library. It is sensitively designed to integrate with the existing structure, preserving the original architectural intent and views and featuring a light-filled glass connector. Clean lines are pulled through the addition to complement the existing building and create a cohesive composition. 

Through strategic programming, a continuous library experience is created between the old and new spaces. The original Richardson entry and lobby are preserved, opening into the northeast glass connection. The main level of the library houses the periodical reading room, fiction reading room, reference collection, non-fiction reading room, young adults section, small meeting room, innovation lab, quiet study rooms as well as circulation and reference desks. By strategically placing key staff control points throughout the floor plan, the design team was able to more than double the size of the building without requiring the library to double its staff. 

An accessible second main entry is added on the north side of the addition. Located on the lower level, the entry opens into the children’s gallery and library. Located on the lower level is a 100-person meeting room, which in the evening can operate independently as an event space.

A new elevator was added in the existing building which connects to the third floor – a floor that was not previously accessible. A trustee room was added to this space.

Extensive changes are proposed to the landscaping to promote a more natural way of approaching the site. A new pathway curves down the front lawn to create a dramatic approach to the historic main entry. Additionally, the drive along the north side of the building is revised, clarifying the traffic pattern, establishing a clear drop-off zone with handicap parking at the entrance, and creating a new access street to additional parking.

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