Sterling Branch Library

Sterling, VA January 2017
Project Highlights
  • 14,500 sf
  • Interior fit out
  • Teen library
  • Innovative furniture
  • Maker lab
  • Diverse mix of flexible learning spaces
  • Citation Award, AIA Maryland
  • Merit Award, AIA Potomac Valley
  • Interior Design Award, Signatures of Loudoun Design Excellence
  • Students’ Choice Award, Signatures of Loudoun Design Excellence
  • Juror's Special Citation in Commercial Interiors, AIA Northern Virginia
  • Merit Award, AIA Central Virginia

Old Spaces, New Tech.

How do you insert a new 14,500 sf new library into a 20 year old shopping center that has seen better days? Very carefully! Loudoun County leased three abandoned storefronts that they wanted to convert into a new community library. The constraints of the lease and budget limitations rendered this an interior-only exercise. The solution located active spaces adjacent to the long ribbon of storefront to invite visitors in.

As you enter, the zone to the left is a teen area. With computers, anime, gaming screens, and fun furniture, this area lets teens do their thing. A movable glass Nanawall separates the teens from the rest of the library when things get loud and activities start to buzz.

Along the front wall, at the storefront, are dynamic seating areas with booths and a variety of tables and chairs. Parents can read, study, meet or chill while their children enjoy the “jelly bean” cut-outs in the children’s area. Interiors are brought to life with vibrant colors, daylighting and flexible furnishings that support a variety of activities – from festive to reflective.

The library ceiling has skylights and bulkheads that draw you into new places along the way. Along the path are computers, a maker space, spaces for business incubation, tutoring rooms, and conference rooms, and a community meeting room.

The library has become a beacon in the older shopping center. It glows at night and attracts visitors. By day, the library is filled with laughter and delight (daylight) as people enjoy the amenities offered. The new library has helped to transform an older, “has-been” shopping center into a new, hip place to hang out and engage, to see and be seen, with neighbors and friends!