Northeast Neighborhood Library

DC Public Library, Washington, DC

Project Details

15,000 gsf

BELL Architects

The Northeast Neighborhood Library is located on Capitol Hill at 330 7th Street NE in Washington DC. The Northeast Library was built in 1932 and is the fourth oldest library building in the city still in operation. The Georgian Revival style brick library building was designed by Albert L. Harris, the city’s Municipal Architect. The building is two stories tall with a full basement, a partially habitable attic and a mezzanine level between the first and second floors. The structure typically consists of concrete slabs and concrete pan joists spanning between brick masonry walls and concrete encased steel beams.

Silman provided structural engineering services for the design-build interior renovation of the Library. The project required structural input on issues such new stairs, infilling existing stair, lintels for openings in walls, MEP equipment support and a new vertical lift (elevator).

The interior renovation included among other things the introduction of a ceremonial stair tower clad in glass curtain walls rising above the existing garage. The stair tower, which is attached to the rear of the library, has a braced frame to resist lateral forces in one direction and drag struts to carry the lateral force back to the existing structure in the other direction. One of the structural challenges on the project was accommodating the removal of two existing concrete columns to create an open meeting room space at the basement level. Steel channels were installed to carry the cut columns and predeflected so as to avoid cracks and movement in the floor above. In addition, the library had a unique structure at isolated areas of the mezzanine and second floor levels. In these areas there was a proprietary “stack construction” where the bookshelves acted as column supports for the slabs above. This stack construction necessitated structural reinforcement in order to remove the original shelving units.

2015 DC Historic Preservation Awards, Public and Private Stewardship
2015 Washington Building Congress Craftsmanship Awards, Plaster, Architectural Millwork
2014 AIA|DC Chapter Design Awards, Award of Merit in Historic Resources

Categories: Libraries, Renovation, Historic Preservation