Project DescriptionStevens & Wilkinson, an architecture, engineering and interior design firm based in Atlanta and Columbia, S.C., today announced details about the design and construction of the new Milton Library in Milton, Ga. The firm provided architectural and building engineering design services for the library, which involved maximizing usable area for patrons and addressing present-day library functions and operations in a comfortable setting.
Commissioned by the Atlanta-Fulton County Public Library System, Stevens & Wilkinson designed the new 25,000-square-foot, one-story building as a figurative living room for the North Fulton community.
Stevens & Wilkinson’s conceptualized design for the library included local vernacular style, natural materials, open floor plans with oversized windows, meeting and community rooms, and porches overlooking a community green. The design outfitted smart, relevant spaces to serve specific purposes and sustain the growing literary, research and meeting needs of residents living in the area.
“The Milton Library’s new building was designed and constructed to offer increased services with a larger, multi-purpose facility as well as play a central role in the growth and edification of North Fulton’s core,” said Bill Clark, AIA, LEED AP, principal / president with Stevens & Wilkinson, Georgia.
Clark and his team of architect and building engineer colleagues at the firm provided design services for the library in association with 720 Design. In tandem, Stevens & Wilkinson collaborated with construction management services partner Turner Construction Company and program management team Heery/Russell.
An original four-acre wooded site where the library now stands was repurposed from a rural former family homestead to include 118 parking spaces, outdoor gathering and program areas, and protected woodland and specimen trees. Outdoor areas now also allow for drive-up material returns and patron drop-off space adjacent and connected to a proposed pedestrian, cycling and horseback trail system. The project also involved a public art component, through the Fulton County Public Art Program.
To contextualize the large project into the neighborhood, the building was designed as four distinct elements. The largest is the reading room with the installation of comfortable seating and tables in close proximity to a fieldstone fireplace. The second is a community room which can function independently of the library and was designed to offer a presentation and meeting facility.
A third element is a low-height connector that includes the lobby, staff areas and patron-support functions. The fourth component is the most distinctive element of the building, an entrance “silo” which, with its higher and circular roof line, helps orient patrons and creates an identifiable landmark for the building’s entry point.
The building forms take their inspiration from the vernacular associated with Milton’s equestrian and agrarian history. “We designed the reading and community room wings to incorporate sloped gabled roofs, awnings, clerestory windows, and screened porches,” says Todd Dolson, project designer with Stevens & Wilkinson. “The exception to this vernacular is the generous use of glass allowing for views toward the community green, while also allowing views into the library from nearby streets.”
The single entrance to the library leads visitors directly to a large welcome and service desk. From the desk, adult and children’s reading rooms are accessed, keeping these two functions separate yet in close vicinity to each another. Adjacent to the service desk are an adult computer area and teen reading rooms, permitting these more active spaces to share services close to library staff.
“The interior layout was kept simple to create highly usable spaces, promote security with unobstructed sightlines, and promote ease-of-use for patrons,” says Dolson.
Green building design and sustainability were priorities for the project which is targeted for the U.S. Green Building Council LEED Silver certification. The building design supports the county’s sustainability goals through the use of water-saving fixtures and equipment; highly efficient heating and air conditioning systems; and the use of regional materials, recycled materials and construction waste.
Storm water now is collected under the building’s parking lot via pervious pavements. Significant specimen trees were saved and directly influenced the design of the building and site. The firm’s design also resulted with daylight and views being provided throughout the facility.