South Orange ,NJ
The Village of South Orange engaged H3 to renovate its existing library and create a dynamic, accessible library with ample public spaces. The project is a cost-effective plan that addresses deficits in functionality and building standards by rehabilitating the existing 9,300 sq.ft. Connett building, which has been leased to non-public organizations for the past 30 years. Construction of a two-story, green-roofed Connector between the Connett and the existing 1968 Library Building will increase the Library’s overall square footage by 45% and will create a 21st century library that will serve the community’s diverse, growing, and evolving needs for generations.
The new Connector resolves accessibility issues through the use of a common entrance and circulation core. The Connector will give the community a true sense of place as they enter and provide direct access to all parts of the library. This brick and glass walled link will lead into both buildings; and will have a stair-case, elevator and new ADA restrooms. Here library staff will provide greeting and assistance amid new, interesting, interactive display spaces. This area provides a multi-generational café space, envisioned as a casual meeting area with the ﬂexibility to be adapted into a maker space. The multi-generation café and the adjacent group study rooms are located so that they can accommodate after-hour community use.
The Connett Building is in sound condition but in need of prioritized steps towards rehabilitation, beginning with the exterior. Building systems need a complete overhaul to comply with modern code and safety issues. The original reading rooms on the first floor will be restored to match the level of the Village’s most beautiful and historic