Since 1903, the community of Baraboo, Wisconsin has respectfully preserved their beautiful, historic Carnegie library. An addition constructed in 1982 extended the functional life of the building and preserved the main public appearance of the Carnegie design.
However times change and this growing community realized that the provision of modern library services requires a major addition to the facility. Utilizing a Building Program from 2009, prepared by George Lawson as a working guide, the design team organized and held a three-day public Charrette to develop the conceptual design for the new addition and renovation.
The Charrette allowed the design team, library board, community leaders, and patrons to quickly explore potential expansion options and to clearly understand the property purchase requirements with each option. Consensus was quickly found for the preferred design, but the challenge was that this option required an agreement to purchase additional land from an adjacent Church. The public participation process helped garner the support of the church congregation and the Library Board was able to successfully negotiate the purchase of additional land.
The new design preserves the setback of the original Carnegie Library and provides a new addition of the same proportion, to the east. A new, predominately glass entry zone provides a clear delineation between the original library and the new addition, while also solving a critical accessibility issue with the two-story Carnegie design. Careful attention to the axial design of the Carnegie facility helped to organize the new plan and redefine the functional layout of the library to create a design that is both respectful of the historic facility, but will also serve the library’s future needs.
For the Baraboo project, OPN Architects partnered with Dorschner Associates, a Madison-based architecture firm. OPN is providing schematic and design development services for the project and Dorschner will provide construction documentation and administration. Fundraising for the project has begun, utilizing the presentation graphics prepared by OPN Architects.