Robinson-Westchase Neighborhood Library
The Houston Public Library System and their General Services Department, which serves as the design/construction manager, faced several challenges with the Robinson-Westchase Neighborhood Library built in 1991. Its durable exterior still looked good, but the rear-facing entrance and absence of windows did not support the library’s desired welcoming, friendly image. The 18,000-square-foot floor plan needed a major reconfiguration to accommodate the rapid and significant evolution of library services over 25 years. Also, shrinking maintenance and operations budgets called for even greater durability and improvements in visibility.
Page and Balfour Beatty Construction were selected as the design-build team to understand and respond to these challenges. The new design transforms and reorganizes the space to provide clear lines of sight, improving supervision and customer service. Flexible meeting spaces and a teen room were added. A welcoming two-story axial entry hall with a clerestory, further highlighted by metal accent panels, gives greater visibility to the entrance. Additional window openings add strategic daylight for library users as well as a view of the adjacent Westchase District hike and bike trail.
The new glazing is energy-efficient, and some of it is fritted to limit glare and reduce operational costs. The inherent durability of the building has been retained, and it suffered no damage from the flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey. The facility achieved LEED Silver certification shortly after opening.
Page services on the project included architectural services, sustainable design, interior design and furniture selection.