Montgomery Library Featured Among Country’s Most Celebratory Libraries

Montgomery Library Featured Among Country’s Most Celebratory Libraries 789 444 DMR Architects

The Montgomery branch of the Somerset County Library System is among vibrant, celebratory and stimulating libraries across the country that were featured in Library Journal’s Architecture Issue.

The exceptional design of the branch, built as part of the design and construction of a new municipal center, focused on providing a modern space that met the varied social and intellectual needs of the community, while also honoring the township’s history as an agricultural community.

Design features implemented in pursuit of this goal include:

  • The main “living room,” with a fire feature and soft furniture for casual reading. Seating is also located along the full height, glazed façade which overlooks the surrounding landscape, primarily open space, and connecting the patrons to the outside. The use of heavy timber throughout the exterior and interior is also a tribute to the township’s agricultural history.
  • A sort-o-matic, a book sorting machine. Special design considerations were taken for patrons to enjoy watching their books move through the grand piece of machinery.
  • A digital preservation lab, equipped with a large format archival scanner, advanced video and audio editing technology, a light box for photographing historical objects and access to many other digital programs. Designers strategically placed this room in a central location and utilized glass walls to maintain visual connection.
  • Additional technological integrations, including reserving materials online to after-hours pickup from an outdoor book locker.

In Middletown, Renovation Reflects Social Identity of the Library

In Middletown, Renovation Reflects Social Identity of the Library 789 444 DMR Architects

While libraries have always served as hubs of curiosity and enlightenment, changes in technology, resources and styles have called for many renovations. Middletown is the latest municipality to turn to DMR to renovate their public library to address these modern needs.

DMR’s plans at the Middletown Library will soon reshape the facility into a destination that will better serve the social and intellectual needs of the town through new and expanded programming space including a makerspace and business skills lab, café/coffee station with a fireplace lounge, and dedicated history, teen, reading and community rooms. The design considered visual connection, existing natural light and overall flexibility.

Montgomery Municipal Center, Fueled by Robust Community Input, Reflects History and Identity

Montgomery Municipal Center, Fueled by Robust Community Input, Reflects History and Identity 789 444 DMR Architects

DMR Architects conceived the design for the new Montgomery Municipal Center to reflect the township’s identity as a close-knit suburban community with deep agricultural roots while providing a state-of-the-art facility that will serve the future needs of the community and administration.

The 62,000 SF building opened last summer delivering offices for Montgomery Township’s police headquarters and administration, a new branch of the Somerset County Library System, and the council chambers arranged around a central common public lobby.

It is unique in not only its design, hearkening back to old barns and farm structures, but also in its purposes and function, with connected spaces for municipal, library and community programs under one roof. The project was borne from a collaborative approach that included input from municipal and county voices, as well as more than 200 residents.

“The new municipal center has been planned to serve as a community gathering place, something that the township has long sought,” said Montgomery Mayor Devra Keenan.  “This is not just a building to us; it is a representation of Montgomery’s collaborative spirit and pride of place.”

The design takes cues from agrarian architecture with contemporary material choices, seen through the gable roof, stone exterior, metal roofing, wood siding, heavy timber canopies and abundance of glass. The result reflected the collective pride of Montgomery’s elected officials and residents so effectively that the building design was incorporated into an updated municipal seal.

“There is a distinct shift in attitudes away from building utilitarian municipal facilities that are seen as a place people ‘have to go to’. Trends are moving toward providing residents with a location that is more welcoming and engaging to the community,” said Kurt Vierheilig, AIA, LEED AP BD+C. “It’s important to a project’s success to work in unison with residents, county and municipal leaders. The spirit of collaboration was strong at all levels and the final product is something we are all proud of and that will be used for many generations.”

With aid of Grant Funding, $24M of Library Projects are set to Begin

With aid of Grant Funding, $24M of Library Projects are set to Begin 789 444 DMR Architects

Aided through a 50% funding match by the first round of funding of the Library Construction Bond Act, authorized in November 2020, library projects in Roselle, Freehold and Montgomery, improvements that represent a total estimated construction cost of $24 million, are set to begin in 2021. The projects will address critical building upgrades and support modern technological improvements to these community fixtures.

In the Borough of Freehold, funding will support a nearly $2 million project at the Freehold Public Library, an original Carnegie Library. Since its construction in 1904, the building has gone through minimal renovations, with many of the original design elements now aging and in need of repair or not suitable for the library’s current needs. As part of this project, a wheelchair accessible ramp and lift and ADA-accessible bathrooms will be added, and aging building elements such as a new roof and improved HVAC systems will be addressed.

In the Borough of Roselle, $5.5 million of funding will help fuel an $11 million renovation and addition. While the resources and needs of the library have expanded greatly since it was constructed in 1938, the limited size and antiquated design of the facility has made it difficult to keep up with modern demands. The 15,400 SF, two-story addition will allow the library to expand its programs and resources, and will include a new youth services section, with both teen and children’s zones, a program room and study rooms. The renovations to the existing facility will address ADA improvements.

In the Township of Montgomery, a new library branch, part of the Somerset County Library System, will be part of the new municipal center, also designed by DMR. $5.4 million from the bond act will support the 20,000 SF library which will include small study rooms, a conference room, a children’s section, a lounge area for parents and casual readers, a sound proof studio for podcasting and recordings and lockers outside for after-hours pick-up of books via a code sent to a mobile phone or device.

DMR assisted each municipality in the grant application for these projects.