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Before & After, Tacony Library

Before & After, Tacony Library

A humble library is restored and made accessible.  

The Free Library of Philadelphia is a publicly funded series of safe spaces where people, ideas, and communities can grow. Each year it welcomes 6 million visitors to its 54 neighborhood libraries. As a part of the Building Inspiration: 21st Century Libraries Initiative, four pilot libraries are reopening to the public after receiving extensive modernization and expansion. The Tacony Library is the only Carnegie gifted library in the group that is not on the local register of historic places. Yet the redesign and renovations still pay tribute to the library’s historic character. Visit Curbed Philadelphia to see a fun before/after feature on this and 3 other libraries we worked on!

The original skylight had been covered in a mid-century renovation, but it would be opened to the sky in the renovation.

The original skylight had been covered in a mid-century renovation, but it would be opened to the sky in the renovation.

We decided to eliminate the linear fluorescent strip lights in the skylight pocket and replace them with linear LED up-lights that would only light after dark, so that during daytime hours, the skylight could be appreciated for its natural light contribution to the space.

We decided to eliminate the linear fluorescent strip lights in the skylight pocket and replace them with linear LED up-lights that would only light after dark, so that during daytime hours, the skylight could be appreciated for its natural light contribution to the space.

The existing pendants were replaced with versions similar to the original fixtures. Recessed down-lights were added to create more direct light for the readers. Every window is up-lit from the inside sill with a linear LED up-light. This creates the illusion that the library is always open after dark and allows it to act as a lantern and beacon in the neighborhood.

The existing pendants were replaced with versions similar to the original fixtures. Recessed down-lights were added to create more direct light for the readers. Every window is up-lit from the inside sill with a linear LED up-light. This creates the illusion that the library is always open after dark and allows it to act as a lantern and beacon in the neighborhood.

The children’s reading room was an addition to the original library. The original lighting scheme included surface mount fluorescent fixtures added above the exposed beams to highlight the ceiling with double rows of surface mount fluorescent lights added below the beams to provide general light.

The children’s reading room was an addition to the original library. The original lighting scheme included surface mount fluorescent fixtures added above the exposed beams to highlight the ceiling with double rows of surface mount fluorescent lights added below the beams to provide general light.

We removed all fluorescent fixtures and opted for a simple pendant hung linear LED fixture that has both direct and indirect lighting. Floating it from the beam gives the ceiling some breathing room, and allows you to appreciate the structure.

We removed all fluorescent fixtures and opted for a simple pendant hung linear LED fixture that has both direct and indirect lighting. Floating it from the beam gives the ceiling some breathing room, and allows you to appreciate the structure.

We carried the same linear pendant through the addition to tie the spaces together.

We carried the same linear pendant through the addition to tie the spaces together.

The linear pendants act as way finders that lead throughout the various rooms and new lobby.

The linear pendants act as way finders that lead throughout the various rooms and new lobby.

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James R Keller LLC and Vitetta

Location, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

All before images by Charlie Dumais

All after images used with permission from Jeffery Totaro

Our Favorite Light Sources

Our Favorite Light Sources

In Print, The Hoxton Williamsburg

In Print, The Hoxton Williamsburg