Continue reading below
Our Featured Videos
Golden Gate Valley Library, Tom Eliot Fish, Paulett Taggart Architects, eco library, green renovation, san francisco, library renovation

Originally the Golden Gate Valley Library was named the Carnegie Library and was completed in 1918 in the Beaux-Arts style by architect Ernest Coxhead. The basilica-shaped library needed a renovation and updates in order to meet the requirements for the Americans with Disabilities Act. At the same time, the SF Public Library wanted the renovation to at least achieve LEED Silver for Commercial Interiors. The project was designed through a joint effort between Tom Eliot Fisch and Paulett Taggart Architects. Their duties included a number of efficient and eco-friendly upgrades to improve the sustainability and also a new addition for an elevator. Rather than add a long ramp or addition to the street-facing facade, the team made use of an underutilized courtyard around the side of the building for the elevator. The new modern glass and aluminum box is very contemporary compared to the historic building and reads as a combination of the old and the new.

As for sustainability, first the windows on the south facing facade were replaced with high-performance glazing to reduce solar heat gain, while the rest of the windows were restored and cleaned. A new high efficiency mechanical system replaces an out-dated one and new energy efficient lighting throughout reduces energy use while improving comfort. Low flow fixtures reduce potable water use and low VOC paints and finishes help with air quality. Rather than buying new furniture, the existing furniture was restored. A photovoltaic system on the roof provides up to 25% of the library’s energy needs. In addition, the library provides enhanced bike parking, improved accessibility, more storage, seismic strengthening, and a new teen area. The renovations were completed in 2011 and has since received a number of awards for its historic preservation.

Images ©Bruce Damonte Photography