Built in 1987, Rod Kelley Elementary School has undergone several interim classroom expansions but the library represents the first permanent addition. The existing library was undersized and did not have the technological capabilities required for a 21st century learning environment.
By building a new, freestanding library building, we were able to create a place that satisfies the district’s library goals, integrates technology into the instructional spaces, and will double as the future campus hub for the upper-grades. It defines a second entry and hub for the campus. The responsive landscape design connects the new structure to the existing campus, while providing seating for outdoor assemblies and community events. The intermediate zone of planters and concrete seat walls create a “soft edge” that also doubles as an outdoor reading space. The new library goes beyond book storage to become a center for gathering and a creative environment that inspires.
The design taps into the sense of mystery that books can provide by incorporating a series of diverse reading spaces which harken back to the “cabinet of curiosities.” Two contrasting volumes follow separate axes to create a dynamic intersection. A vernacular barn aligns with the street grid, which ties the library to its agricultural context. The skewed, modern box follows the school’s grid and aesthetics while providing views to the surrounding hills. Two custom book walls dissect these volumes and are then eroded to form openings for light and inhabitation. The barn forms a grand room for instruction, while the box is broken into a collection of nooks for children to read. Through the integration of design and technology, the building provides indoor and outdoor spaces to facilitate and maximize student learning and inspiration. The clean window and trim details, combined with the oversized signage, contribute to this playful and child-centric design.
Architect: Gray Dougherty, AIA, LEED AP (Dougherty + Dougherty)
Electrical: Mohan Sabapathy (TMAD Taylor & Gaines)
Cost: Sandy Gray (Cumming)
Structural: Tim Heiman (KPFF)
Mech/Plumb: Gary Hennings (H&M Mechanical Group)
Landscape: Bob Stone (NUVIS)
General Contractor: Kent Construction
Photographer: Kris Knutson
The Dougherty + Dougherty design team used CHPS criteria to make the following design decisions:
■ The library responds to its local environment through solar orientation and natural ventilation.
■ All electric lighting uses a daylight harvesting system to minimize unnecessary light output.
Sensors automatically dim lighting if they receive data that the daylight is bright enough to light
the building. Large north facing glazing and a diffuse skylight provide abundant reading light that rarely needs to be supplemented with electric lighting.
■ The building plan positions the utility core and restrooms on the west side, eliminating intense
summer afternoon solar heat gain.
■ Materials were chosen based on their recycled content and MEP systems on their energy and
water saving capabilities.
■ Native landscaping requires minimal irrigation and the irrigation controller includes a rain
■ All building and site storm water is filtered through pervious pavers and retention swales, and
then treated on site.
■ Educational signage teaches students about the sustainable aspects of the building.