Charles E. Miller Branch & Historical Center

Ellicott City, MD Completed - 2011
Project Highlights
  • 63,000 sf
  • New Construction
  • LEED Gold Certified
  • 2012 Wintergreen Award
  • 1st Place New Commercial building, ASHRAE Region 3

A model for the future.

Celebrating Ellicott City’s rich agricultural history and emerging technology, Charles E. Miller Branch & Historical Center incorporates historic motifs and abundant technological resources to provide visitors with an inspiring experience. The library’s success contributed to Library Journal naming HCLS the Library System of the Year in 2013. The library, which has seen significant increases in circulation rate and physical and virtual visits since construction completed, serves as a 21st Century facility supporting 21st Century education.

The building’s orientation preserves and showcases the beloved natural rural landscape. A stone wall, reminiscent of the County’s viaduct and Ellicott City, welcomes and guides visitors into and through the library. The abundant transparency along the Frederick Road facade invites the community to join the activities inside. Throughout the library, visitors feel connected to the natural landscape while enriching their lives in the quest for knowledge. Natural light floods the library’s diverse spaces and functions: meeting rooms, electronic classrooms, children’s, teen and adult areas, outdoor meeting areas, and study rooms.

The library also houses the Historical Center, which provides visitors with research opportunities, classes, seminars and events that promote the County’s vibrant past. The history of the region is also reflected in the library’s pictorial murals, which feature images of the Enchanted Forest, local stone viaduct, and the Patapsco River. The design emphasizes the importance of access to flexible and adaptable technology by providing flexible, adaptable media and spaces.

The facility also features an energy dashboard, which educates visitors on the building’s sustainable elements. In addition to the terrace which overlooks the library’s green roof, the site also features the Enchanted Garden, a planted outdoor learning area that facilitates nutritional education and promotes a sustainable lifestyle.