City of Palo Alto, College Terrace Library

About This Project

Location: Palo Alto, California

Architects: The KPA Group (Oakland, CA)

Contractors: Barry Swenson Builder

About the Client: The City of Palo Alto is a suburban city of approximately 60,000 people in the San Francisco Bay Area, situated halfway between San Francisco and San Jose.

Project Description: The College Terrace Library is one of five branch libraries in the City of Palo Alto. This project involved the renovation and seismic upgrade of a historic structure originally built in 1936. The existing one story 4,800 square foot wood-frame and stucco Spanish Eclectic Revival style building is located in the College Terrace neighborhood near Stanford University. The library is situated in a city park and the stucco exterior has prominent arches, covered porches, arched windows and red clay tile roofing. The interior has vaulted wood ceilings with exposed wood beams, built-in book shelves and decorative ironwork. The challenge was to maintain the historical features deemed to be “premier” while upgrading the structure seismically. The upgrade of the landscape to period-type native-California plantings and trees ties the entire structure to the park setting.

Special Features and Challenges: Renovate and seismically upgrade the structure to current code requirements without sacrificing the historical integrity of the Library interior spaces or exterior character-defining features. Raised the Library roof by 1 foot to allow for new seismic and structural members without impacting the “premier” historical rating of the interior period elements.

Nova Partners’ Role: Nova Partners was engaged to provide project management oversight during the preconstruction and construction phases. Nova worked directly with the City of Palo Alto Department of Public Works and the Architect and General Contractor to ensure that the facility maintained the historical integrity and character. The overall project was completed within the budget and timeframes established at the onset of the project.

Green, Libraries & Civic