Our Sight Lines series highlights how different perspectives and practices come together to deliver value for specific clients and communities, through the lens of Quinn Evans projects and locations.
For communities all over the country, libraries represent much more than just a home for books. People use libraries as places to research and write, prepare job applications, and learn about new technologies. Libraries provide people with safe places to bring their children and engage with others in the community. And libraries can even serve as central hubs for towns, hosting events, serving as voting locations, providing healthcare resources, and connecting community members to community leaders.
“Libraries have gone from being book-centric to people-centric,” says Quinn Evans Senior Architect Andrea Quilici, AIA, LEED AP. “A library is no longer a silent place, but a collaborative place.”
At Quinn Evans, we approach every library project with a focus on the people within each community because we know that there are no limits to how or where learning can happen.
“A library is successful when we are able to tailor our design to the specific community or the specific type of problems that community faces,” Andrea explains.
Quinn Evans designed the Varina Library in Henrico, VA to meet the diverse study and work needs of the community. The goal for Andrea and the rest of the team was to create a space that was programmatically innovative while retaining and preserving the natural beauty of the community.
Sitting above a protected wetland, the site already had alluring natural resources surrounding it. As part of the design, Quinn Evans built cascading pavilions and expansive glass walls that accentuated the landscape and provided a strong connection to the heritage of the area.
Along with honoring the heritage, the community also wanted a public space that was programmatically innovative and could speak to the time in which we live. Quinn Evans incorporated a variety of learning spaces equipped with movable and adaptable furniture for people to easily work or study independently or collaboratively.
In working on library projects, Andrea loves to find stories that resonate with the audiences.
“[We use] this narrative to develop a coherent design starting from a broad urban perspective and reaching to every minute construction detail,” he says.
While designing the Fairfield Library in Henrico, VA, Quinn Evans took inspiration from the teachings and leadership ideals of Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois, as well as their work for social advancement.
The goal of this project was to create a space in the library where parents could work while having the peace of mind that their young children were accounted for. This resulted in a multi-functional space with dedicated areas for children, parents, and caregivers.
“Now parents can work and be productive while also overseeing what their kids are up to,” Andrea explains.
With the infrastructure to support the latest technology and two unique design themes -- life skills and family -- the library has strengthened the community it serves while offering opportunities for children, parents, and caregivers to better connect.
For Quinn Evans, libraries aren’t just a specific project type; they can also serve as the inspiration for a career in architecture and preservation.
For seven years, Stephanie Austin, ASLA, worked at the University of Michigan’s Bentley Historical Library, handling historical documents and learning about archival research.
Now, as a Landscape Architect at Quinn Evans, Stephanie draws inspiration from her background in archival research to ensure that she and the team fully understand the space, its history, and how living communities value it.
“I’m most proud of my work when our team can help reconnect people to places that are important both to their history and living communities,” Stephanie says.
In our Sight Lines series, we will continue to tell the story of One Firm through the lens of specific sites and locations. We will highlight how Quinn Evans works with clients to create more than just a physical building and highlight how different perspectives and practices come together to deliver value for specific clients and communities.
In the coming months, we will explore:
Thank you for joining us as we explore the Sight Lines that connect us all.