March 22, 2018

Year in Architecture 2014: Elegant Eclecticism


The Carbondale Branch Library, CO, part of Garfield County Libraries, is a full-service community library. The new 13,000 square foot building in this “small, eclectic town” features a reading porch, an outdoor community table, and a public blackboard. CREDITS: Humphries Poli Architects and Willis Pember Architects, architects; Greg Watts, photo.


Structural issues bore down on the Lodi Branch of the Medina County Public Library, OH, forcing a complete reconstruction of the center of the building. It now includes a redesigned customer service desk, a teen area, a gaming station, and a welcoming new entryway. CREDITS: Prime Engineering/HBM Architects, architects; © 2014 Nannette Bedway, photo.


The new Westwood Public Library, MA, is reflective of the town’s historic district. Stepped gable pavilions form a variety of reading spaces, while huge windows bring in natural light. CREDITS: Finegold Alexander + Associates, architect; Neil Alexander, photo.


The Boyden Library, Foxborough, MA, was built in 1967–68, a surviving example of mid-century brutalist architecture. The 13,800 square foot addition complements the original layout and its concrete, glass, and soaring limestone panels. CREDITS: LLB Architects, architect; Bruce T. Martin Photography, photo.


The Prairie West Branch Library, the newest member of the Siouxland Libraries, Sioux Falls, SD, is built on the edge of a park and community garden, with a wetland to the north. Its distinctive identity is emphasized by a stone-clad entry tower and backlit signage. CREDITS: Architecture Incorporated, architect; Ken Peterson, photo.


Besides having a very cool name, the Back of the Yards Branch of the Chicago Public Library is part of a community campus with a college preparatory high school but serves patrons of all ages in its 8,300 square feet and offers 25 public access computers. CREDITS: STL Architects, Inc., architect; City of Chicago/Walter Mitchell, photo.


Aside from having recycled Levi’s jeans as insulation, the North Beach Branch, San Francisco Public Library, completes a city park block. The top of the two-story structure features a clerestory window around the perimeter of the double-height reading rooms and a sloped roof that responds to the site’s topography. CREDITS: Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects, architect; ©Bruce Damonte, photo.


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Bette-Lee Fox About Bette-Lee Fox

Bette-Lee Fox ( is Managing Editor, Library Journal.

Celebrating her 46th year with Library Journal, Bette-Lee also edits LJ’s Video Reviews column, six times a year Romance column, and e-original Romance reviews, which post weekly as LJ Xpress Reviews.