Portland, Maine

Program: A renovation of Portland's International Style public library, with a new café, an expanded computer center, a larger children's area, a new space for teens, meeting rooms, and an auditorium, spread over the main and lower levels. The 47,077-square-foot building includes a second and third level, which will be renovated in phase two of the project, and a fourth level housing mechanical space.

Design concept and solution: Scott Simons Architects wanted to open up the library's dark, cavelike interior and turn it into an inviting public space without altering the granite exterior of Portland's only International Style building. They moved the library's entrance—previously in the depths of the building, at the end of a long ramped corridor—to the sidewalk. On the exterior, the architects took advantage of unused outdoor space in the shadow of a double-height overhang: they glassed it in to create an atrium café and new entrance hall. Above the overhang, they extended the glass out from the facade, giving the curtain wall the appearance of weaving in and out of the undisturbed slate. Inside, the Scott Simons team removed the walls that had enclosed the old entrance corridor and added open stairs to the floors above and below, revealing the logic of the building. Sheet-glass railings further improve sight lines, and a straightforward materials palette of clear-finished wood and metallic-looking metals reinforces the architects' what-you-see-is-what-you-get approach.

Scott Simons Architects, LLC
75 York Street
Portland, Maine 04101
Phone: 207.772.4656  
Fax: 207.828.4656

Location: 5 Monument Square, Portland, Maine

Completion Date: April 2010

Total construction cost: $5.7 million


Owner: Portland Public Library, City of Portland

Scott Simons Architects, LLC
75 York Street
Portland, Maine 04101
Phone: 207.772.4656  
Fax: 207.828.4656

Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
Scott Simons, AIA, Principal
Austin Smith, AIA, Project Manager
Stephen Fraser, RA, Staff Architect
William Gatchell, AIA, Staff Architect
Leslie Benson, Architectural Intern

Architect of record: Scott Simons Architects LLC

Structural: Becker Structural Engineers, Inc.

MEP: Allied Engineering, Inc

Lighting: Peter Knuppel Lighting Design

General contractor: Ledgewood Construction

Robert Benson
Robert Benson Photography
Phone: 860.951.3004

C. Michael Lewis, Artist

CAD system, project management, or other software used:



Exterior cladding
Metal/glass curtainwall: Kawneer

Elastomeric:  Versigard

Aluminum: Kawneer

Glass: Sungate 500 Caribia by PPG

Skylights: Sungate 500 Caribia by PPG

Entrances: Dura-Glide by Stanley

Metal doors: Curries

Wood doors: Algoma Wood Doors

Fire-control doors, security grilles:  Cookson Rolling Doors

Locksets: Sargent

Hinges: McKinney

Closers: Sargent

Exit devices: Sargent

Pulls:  Rockwell

Cabinet hardware: Blum

Interior finishes
Acoustical ceilings: Ultima by Armstrong, Dune Second Look

Suspension grid: Prelude XL by Armstrong, Optima Capz by Armstrong

Cabinetwork and custom woodwork: White Oak/3 Form

Paints and stains: Sherwin Williams

Paneling: 3 Form Varia EcoResin, 3 Form Chroma

Special surfacing: Corian Solid Surfacing

Wall Tile: Daltile; Flooring/Walls: Sheldon Slate

Resilient flooring:  Altro Quartz Tile

Carpet: Shaw Prism Tile

Creative Office Pavilion – Herman Miller Caper chairs

Creative Office Pavilion – Herman Miller Here Training tables

Huston & Company – custom tables

Other furniture:
Green Design Furniture – custom benches for children’s library

Huston & Company – custom benches

Interior ambient lighting: Beta Calco Custom Pendants, Finelite

Downlights: Focal Point, Eureka

Task lighting: Luxo, Bartco

Exterior: Insight LED

Elevators/Escalators: Stanley Elevator

Kohler Kingston Toilet, Sloan Ecos Dual Flush Valve, Kohler Cimarron Toilet, Urinals TOTO, Sink Duravit Architec