Surrounded by City Park and located close to downtown Santa Clara and a number of schools, the Mission Branch Library has been an essential resource to the community since it opened in 1954. Built as the first stand-alone library in the city, the building had received only minor updates since its first opening, and was in desperate need of a refresh to enhance comfort, create a more welcoming atmosphere, and bring it into the 21st century.
Noll & Tam Architects project team
Chris Noll, Principal
Trina Goodwin, Interiors
Brian Ceraban, Project Manager
Architecture and Interior Design: Noll & Tam Architects
Civil Engineer: Hohbach-Lewin, Inc.
Structural Engineer: Hohbach-Lewin, Inc.
Mechanical Engineer: Gayner Engineers
Electrical Engineer: Gayner Engineers
Landscape: Bellinger Foster Steinmetz
Acoustical Engineer: Charles M Salter Associates, Inc.
Theatrical/AV: Charles M Salter Associates, Inc.
Contractor: Gonsalves & Stronck Construction Co.
Photography by Ethan Kaplan Photography
Working closely with Mission Branch Library stakeholders and a tight budget, the team identified and prioritized aesthetic and functional areas for improvement, and developed a strategy as to how best to breathe new life into the aging facility. The final 8,400-square-foot design is bright and airy, featuring a palette of light wood, with accents of bright greens, oranges, and blues.
High, wood-slatted ceilings and large windows help to visually connect the interiors to the surrounding park setting, while plentiful seating options invite patrons to make themselves at home. Updates were aimed at not only improving the library’s appearance, though fresh paint and new finishes, but at the functionality of the library as well, through the addition of study rooms to better equip the library for the ways people use the facility today.
Five new study rooms—including a large study room—offer a variety of spaces where groups of various sizes can meet without disturbing other patrons. Flexible spaces improved ADA accessibility, and a bigger community room has made it easier for the library to offer programs and other resources to the community that the facility previously wasn’t able to accommodate.
Taking full advantage of the beauty of the library’s surroundings, the design adds a new Children’s Reading Patio, as well as providing increased seating at the library’s front patio. The building’s landscape was also updated with low-water and low-maintenance plants that further helps reduce the building’s water demands. New, energy-efficient windows and interior insulation were also included. LEED Silver certification is anticipated.