Blackstone Library | Branford CT
To breath new life into the 1896 Blackstone Library upgrading all of the mechanicals and wiring and reimaging the use of existing space.
The Blackstone Library was dedicated in 1896, the gift of a Chicago railroad baron born and raised in Branford. The elegant neo-classic building, designed by Chicago architect S.S. Beeman, has undergone only a few major renovations in its lifetime, while the town has grown from 4,000 to over 25,000. In the original design, only the ground floor was used as the library, with museum space, a gymnasium, and a substantial storage and mechanical space occupying nearly half the building area.
The library's mezzanine museum, basement storage and mechanical area were adapted to accommodate the expanding library program. The boiler room and storage were relocated to a new building in the rear, constructed of precast concrete in the color and scale of the original marble facade.
The northwest side of the building was regraded, creating public ground level access from a new rear parking lot. With the exception of an existing mezzanine study area, the building is now fully accessible. Both Rotunda and Auditorium were restored completely, with new lighting fixtures accenting the marvelous neo-classic paintings and decorative ceilings.
At the ground level a new public space was created under the rotunda as an exhibit and lobby space for the stacks.
The old boiler room became the technical services office. Every wire, pipe, and duct was replaced and hidden as well as possible. Old fixtures were rebuilt with new wiring and modern lamping.