Villa Rica Public Library

The Villa Rica Public Library, completed in 2016, is a ground up library branch part of the West Georgia Regional Library system. Located in Villa Rica, Georgia, this new 16,000 square foot facility is organized around reading ‘terraces’ that work with the existing site topography to help minimize site development costs. Patrons are welcomed by an open layout featuring natural light and a variety of reading spaces. A partnership with the adjacent Tanner Medical campus supports a medical research room providing a space for patrons with health concerns a space to seek information.

Design Challenge

The topography of site was a challenge: over 20 feet of elevation change across the area of the building. To mitigate site development costs, the library is planned around a number of incremental height changes. These ‘terraces’ became the focus of our interior spatial design. This terrace concept results in an open layout featuring natural light and a variety of different reading spaces. The level changes break up the large open space without oppressing the access to natural light. The limited amount of solid partitions throughout allows visual access to other areas of the library, aiding in wayfinding and contributing to building’s brightness. High, exposed ceilings, painted white emphasize the generous ceiling height. Also, the partnership with a medical campus created programmatic limitations. The required medical support spaces needed to be open outside of library hours. The separate entrance also prevents patron disruption when events take place during library hours. Additional rooms were required to provide community higher education facilities to use the library for off-site learning opportunities. The program is a direct response to these requirements; resulting in a progression of visitors through a long entry procession that ends in a light and airy reading space.

Physical Context

Many public libraries appear stuffy and cramped. By providing high ceilings, mostly white hues, and plenty of access to natural light, the space feels open, and like a breath of fresh air. One of our design goals was to provide an interior environment unlike anything else in the city of Villa Rica or the neighboring counties - an experience that would make a lasting impression on library patrons. Partitions, railings, light fixtures, reading carols, and book shelves are all custom designed and fabricated from steel – adding a sense of man-made warmth in a typically institutional feeling building type. Other elements of warmth can be found at the custom circulation desk made from salvaged wood as well as other salvaged wood furnishings found throughout.