Gould Evans, a nationally-recognized architecture and planning firm, was selected by the American Association of Architects (AIA) and the American Library Association (ALA) to receive a 2016 AIA/ALA Library Building Award for the Lawrence Public Library Renovation and Expansion in Lawrence, Kan. The project is one of seven winners of this year's award, which recognizes excellence in the architectural design of libraries. The distinguished list of winners also includes Snohetta, will bruder+PARTNERS with O2 Architects, Skidmore Owings & Merrill LLP, VJAA, The Miller Hull Partnership, and Bohlin Cywinski Jackson.

Gould Evans' progressive renovation of the Lawrence Public Library reflects the evolution of the library's role – transforming a 1970s Brutalist-style library into a multimedia community hub. A continuous reading room addition wraps the original library on all sides, emphasizing places of spontaneous gathering, reflection and learning. The striking terra cotta façade also provides a high-performance thermal envelope engineered to harvest daylight and reduce energy usage. Openings at each corner reveal the library's unique public amenities, including children's cubbies, teen gaming zones, meeting spaces and a coffee bar. A community access recording studio supports Lawrence's vibrant music culture, while an outdoor plaza accommodates a rich variety of library and community functions. Within a few months of reopening, user visits increased 55 percent, with youth program attendance up 160 percent.

Following is a selection of the jury's comments on the Lawrence Public Library:

  • "A progressive model for renovation and an ingenious transformation of an existing library"
  • "The decision to "wrap" the current facility [with a continuous reading room] creates a wonderful perimeter reading space."
  • The connection to the outdoor reading garden and performance spaces creates a great civic presence."
  • "The transformation of the original 1970's building into a 21st Century library is quite remarkable."

The jury for the 2016 AIA/ALA Library Building Awards was Lynn S. Grossman, AIA (Chair), Cannon Design; Bradd Brown, AIA, OPN Architects Inc.; Kathleen Imhoff, Building Consultant; Ryan E. Kanteres, AIA, Scott Simons Architects; Susan Parker, UCLA Library and Darro Willey, Library Facilities Consultant.

For information about this year's winning projects, visit http://www.aia.org/press/releases/AIAB108656.