Set within the historic Lilian Webb Park, the new 22,000 square foot $12.2 million Norcross Branch Library replaces the existing branch estimated to be the most-used library in Gwinnett County with over 1,000 visitors per day. The campus is designed to achieve LEED certification for environmental design, integrating energy and water conservation strategies and environmentally responsive materials, sourced regionally.
An emphasis on connection to the surrounding community shaped the design process. Positioned between the park and the well-traveled Buford Highway, the 1.6-acre project hopes to become the centerpiece of the city’s ongoing mixed-use expansion efforts to stretch Norcross’ traditional downtown area toward Buford highway. The design strives to highlight the park adjacent to the project, featuring a flexible pedestrian plaza which conceals a 134 vehicle parking structure below.
The building is designed to embrace the surrounding landscape, maximizing connection to the outdoors, and allow ample natural light to all interior spaces. The exterior façade drew inspiration from the speed of travel, offering smaller windows towards the heavily traveled vehicular thoroughfare and large glass walls facing the park. Long horizontal lines, accentuated by the unique Roman size brick walls, pull views in and out of the library towards the park which hosts concerts and walking trails as well as a vibrant fountain where children are often seen playing.
The design team identified and incorporated current library trends, including increased public space, adaptable technologies and greater flexibility. The new library features areas for children, teens and adults, a community room, maker spaces for creative projects, study rooms, computer services, interactive programming and other equipment to facilitate entrepreneurship development.
Planning began in 2017 when the city and county governments signed an intergovernmental agreement to share costs. The project is funded from various SPLOST programs and the city of Norcross.