News | January 22nd 2021

Woburn Library Wins BSA Award for Design Excellence

Selected from more than 100 entries, CBT is proud to announce that the Woburn Public Library has received a 2020 Award for Design Excellence from the Boston Society for Architecture! The project was honored at the annual 2020 Design Awards Gala on January, 21, 2021, attended virtually this year by industry professionals to celebrate award winners across a series of categories. 

Originally designed by Henry Hobson Richardson in 1876, the Woburn Library was in need of an expansion in order to accommodate the city’s growing population. The 2019 renovation and expansion of the existing 19,700-square-foot library employed a sensitive and creative design process, which sought to augment – not compete with – Richardson’s original building. The design team undertook meticulous efforts to restore and preserve historical features, including individual renewal and refurbishing of more than 100 window sashes, a visit to the quarry in Ohio where the original limestone for the building was sourced, and use of cutting-edge technology that allowed the team to design the new construction with incredible precision.

Check out this CBT Sketchbook to learn more about the creative process behind the design! 

A simple and elegant 30,500-square-foot addition, the completed renovation offers a contemporary expansion which integrates with the existing structure, preserving original architectural intent and views, and featuring a light-filled glass connector. Elevating pedestrians to a level of the historical façade previously inaccessible, the connection illuminates remarkable exterior details, while introducing new passageways to maintain spatial continuity and a seamless patron experience between the existing building and the new. Key staff control points are strategically placed throughout the floor plan, allowing the size of the building to double in size without requiring the library to double its staff. A mezzanine level housing individual study rooms, archives collection, and research space as well as an expansive new children’s library and community multi-purpose space expands the space above and below to introduce important new resources. Externally, horizontal lines of the new façade complement the stone banding of the existing building and reinforce a cohesive composition.