Los Gatos Library \ Noll & Tam architects

• September 15, 2012

Los Gatos Noll Tam .8 600x396 Los Gatos Library \ Noll & Tam architects

images courtesy Noll & Tam Architects + David Wakely

Nestled at the foot of a wooded hillside, the two-story, 30,250-square-foot Los Gatos Library provides a visual connection between the Town’s historic Pageant Park and the adjacent Civic Center. The design concept is based on the lantern, which in architectural terms suggests an open, light-filled structure. Daytime illumination optimizes the use of natural daylight, with glazing on the north wall, skylights at the stairway well, veiled glazing on the south wall, and use of louvers to bounce light into the library. At night, white and colored artificial light allows visibility from the street and views into the library.

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images courtesy Noll & Tam Architects + David Wakely

The site is at the edge of the existing Civic Center and abuts a steeply graded hillside, so building footprint options were limited. To eke out the maximum possible square footage, the architects designed a rectilinear building, then added cantilevered “pop-out” elements to break up the static shape. The steel-frame building is clad with stone veneer, porcelain tile, a wood veneer composite panel rainscreen, honeycomb core aluminum panels, and an aluminum solar shading system. The materials and exterior colors take inspiration from surrounding natural elements and buildings.

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images courtesy Noll & Tam Architects + David Wakely

Inside, the low lobby ceiling opens suddenly onto the two-story main staircase, giving a sense of airiness and arrival. This stair is the central focus of the library and a feature design element. An etched glass art installation by Sheri Simons decorates the back wall of the staircase, alternating transparent and frosted panels and graphic elements.

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images courtesy Noll & Tam Architects + David Wakely

While the open floor plan celebrates large spaces, the design also incorporates more intimate reading areas. Special attention was given to design elements that make each program space unique. The periodicals reading room, located behind the stairwell on the main floor, has a dark-paneled clubby adult atmosphere, with a gas-lit fireplace. A moveable window wall opens onto a patio, creating an outside room in the warmer months. Off the main floor lobby, a brightly colored sign denotes the children’s library. Entering the children’s area, visitors find themselves beneath an undulating starry sky, with glowing back-lit cutouts of celestial swirls and planets. On the rear wall, recycled transparent plastic has been fashioned into luminescent circular artwork by Benjamin Phipps. Smaller circles act as wall sconces, while larger circles are recessed to serve as reading nooks. A door to the outside leads to a secret garden, where larger-than-life books sculpted in cement represent favorite classic children’s literature.

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images courtesy Noll & Tam Architects + David Wakely

Like a hip treehouse, the teen area is located on the second floor in the cantilevered “pop-out,” which gives it views to outside as well as visibility from the street. Teen lounge-style seating offers a group gathering area. The ceiling is detailed with Interlam, painted a vibrant red. The second floor also features a Local History Center, with exhibit cases and a video screen to display artifacts of note.

The design team is aiming for a LEED Gold certification, emphasizing visible sustainable systems and educational display features.


Los Gatos Public Library
100 Villa Ave, Los Gatos CA 95030

Noll & Tam Architects

Project Team
Christopher Noll, AIA, PIC
Dannielle Sergent, Project Manager – Design
Abraham Jayson, Project Manager – Construction
Matthew Wadlund, Project Designer
Tad Costerison, AIA, Project Architect
Trina Goodwin, Interiors Architect

100 Villa Ave, Los Gatos CA 95030

Town of Los Gatos

Date of occupancy
February 2012

Gross square footage

Site area
2.3 acres

Construction cost

Bogard Construction

Library Programmer – Page + Moris
Structural – Ingraham DeJesse Associates
MEP – Glumac
Lighting Design – Illuminosa (aka Alice Prussin Lighting Design)
Civil – Sandis
Landscape – Joni L. Janecki Associates
Signage – MW Design
Cost – Davis Langdon
Green Building Consultant – Simon & Associates

Key materials (type/brand)
Exterior composite wood panels – Prodema North America “Prodex”
Exterior ceramic tile – Crossville, Inc. “NOW” Series
Stove paving tile on plaza & base of building & interior lobby – Il Casone Colombino Sandstone
Windows, Curtain Walls, Storefronts – Kawneer
Sliding door system off periodicals room that opens to patio – Sunflex Wall Systems
Exterior Sunshades – Kawneer
Lighting on front of building (color changing) – Philips iColor Cove QLX
Glass exposed solar panels in clerestory – Sanyo H.I.T.

Countertops – 3Form, Inc. “Chroma”
Wood Panel Ceilings and Elevator Wall Panels – Rulon Company “Aluratone”
Screen Ceilings (periodical room and teen area) – Interlam
Main ceiling acoustical panels – Armstrong World Industries, Inc. “TechZone”
Glass walls of group study room – 3Form, Inc. “Seaweed”

Carpet (adult and teen areas) – Durkin “Atmospheric Loop” and “Electric Strings”
Carpet (children’s area) – Karastan “Fascination” and “Mesmerized”

Light fixtures:
Wooden sculptural fixtures in stairway and adult area– LZF “Anfora” and “Agatha”
Children’s area – Louis Poulsen “Collage Pendant 600”
Periodicals room – Boyd Lighting “Catacaos”

Tables – Agati “Cerino”
Reader chairs – Worden “Cummings”
Lounge chairs – Steelcase “Coalesse Alina” and “Nurture Malibu”
Computer chairs – Steelcase “Cachet”
Children’s Tables – TMC “Kestrel”
Children’s Chairs – TMC “Plover”
Teen Area Reading & Computer Chairs – Knoll “Gigi”
Teen Area Lounge furniture – Knoll “Bird”chair, Neinkamper “Blob”chair, Herman Miller “Tato/Tatino/Tatone”egg-shaped bolsters, OFFECCT “Flower” tables
Library shelving/stacks – Systems & Space
Children’s Area Alphabet Whirlygig & Learning Manipulatives – Burgeon Group, custom made

Two-story glass wall feature in stairway – “Voice-Over” by artist Sheri Simons
Children’s Area Nurdle Nooks – Artist Ben Phipps
Children’s Area Celestial Ceiling – custom pre-fabricated

Software used

LEED Gold (pending)

Photographer credit
David Wakely Photography

+ All images courtesy Noll & Tam Architects + David Wakely

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Category: Architecture, Culture, Education, Interior

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