New Canaan Library

Connecticut, USA

Sustainable Design of Public Spaces

In today's world, libraries are not merely book repositories but dynamic hubs for lifelong learning and community engagement. The New Canaan Library in Connecticut embraced this vision, embarking on an ambitious project to create a space that would serve its diverse community for the next century with a sustainability focus.

The primary challenge was to design a space catering to a wide range of needs and visitors while considering sustainability factors and comfort. The library's mission was clear: foster social connection and provide accessible learning, creativity, and relaxation resources. To achieve this, the library's space underwent a remarkable transformation.

Every decision in the project considered the human impact on the environment. The architects integrated energy-efficient systems, renewable energy, eco-friendly materials, and durable furniture that would last through years of frequent use.

Upon entering the new library building, visitors are immediately struck by a sense of possibility. The interior is bathed in natural light, with abundant natural materials and finishes, creating a classically modern and neutral palette. It's an environment that raises the bar for what a library can be, instantly conveying a sense of belonging and inspiration.

Spaces for Everyone

The Concourse on the main floor is a vibrant hub with amenities like books, art exhibitions, and a cosy café. The soft curves of the Swan™ chairs and Ro™ lounge chairs invite people to sit and relax. Throughout the different rooms over several floors, additional Danish design from Fritz Hansen adds its enduringly modern touch in a quality that will stand the test of time and use.

Inside the Auditorium in a spectacular arrangement, a special project where more than 300 donated and individually engraved Series 7™ chairs serve as a visual reminder of the library's role as a unifying platform for lifelong learning in the community. Each chair is a testament to the library's civic-minded and involved community, reflecting its dedication to fostering a sense of togetherness.

With daily traffic doubling after the library's reopening, durability and resilience became paramount considerations when selecting the chair type for doners to engrave.

These chairs needed to withstand constant use while maintaining their comfort and appearance. The endurance testing of the Series 7™ chairs by Fritz Hansen reinforced their suitability for the library's needs.

Commenting on the selection, Executive Director Lisa Oldham notes, “When deciding on the Series 7 chairs durability was a key concern. With 1100-1300 visitors per day on average, durability is a huge issue. Our furnishings need to look good and feel comfortable all the time, no matter how they’re being used.”

The new New Canaan Library has become the beating heart of its community, welcoming in more and more people, an increase in room bookings and attracting private donations. It stands as a testament to what can be achieved when a vision of inclusivity, sustainability, and learning comes to life in the form of a healthy and comfortable environment that belongs to everyone.