City of Appleton Public Library

Appleton Main Library
Appleton Main Library
City of Appleton Public Library
  • Client City of Appleton
  • Expertise Cultural
  • Region North America
  • Location Appleton, Wisconsin, United States

With light-filled, multi-purpose spaces in which to convene, work, and learn, this renovation and expansion project demonstrates an economically and environmentally sustainable approach to reimagining the main library in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Project Facts
  • Status Design In Progress
  • Completion Year 2023
  • Design Finish Year 2022
  • Size Building Gross Area: 110,000 square feet
  • Collaborators
    Omni Ecosystems raSmith Studio J9, LLC CCS International, Inc. Dbhms - Chicago Gwen Grossman Lighting Design Kirkegaard Andrea Telli Consulting
Project Facts
  • Status Design In Progress
  • Completion Year 2023
  • Design Finish Year 2022
  • Size Building Gross Area: 110,000 square feet
  • Collaborators
    Omni Ecosystems raSmith Studio J9, LLC CCS International, Inc. Dbhms - Chicago Gwen Grossman Lighting Design Kirkegaard Andrea Telli Consulting

Breathing new life into a community hub

SOM’s proposed expansion and renovation of the Appleton Public Library emphasizes a design approach rooted in bringing nature inside, providing daylit spaces and sightlines, and creating multi-purposes spaces for visitors of all ages. The library has long been an institution that represents Appleton’s dedication to learning, knowledge, and social responsibility. Reimagining and reviving the building reflects the values and strength of the library as the heart of this community.

City of Appleton Public Library
© SOM

Designed for longevity

Extending the lifespan of buildings is a critical first step to reducing carbon impact and waste. By making use of the structure’s flexible floor plates and opting for a partial renovation and addition to the existing building, rather than a complete new build, the project sets a sustainability benchmark for the rest of the city. With a program organized by age and purpose, the library anticipates and responds to the needs of diverse community members, and allows for future adaptable uses and improved functionality.

Simply by deciding to renovate, we’re already miles ahead on the sustainability curve compared to other new buildings.


New and improved spaces for learning, programs, and play

Upon entering the building, an arrival commons offers areas for reading, events and socializing. Just beyond this space, visible through an undulating glass facade, a series of garden pavilions creates seamless transitions and access between indoor and outdoor programming. The use of glass further breaks down the building’s existing facade, increasing visibility to the street.

A rooftop terrace on the east wing of the building provides access to the outdoors, while skylights over stairwells bring natural light deep into the building. The children’s area on the lower level is accessible through a “learning stair,” an area for readings, performances and play. Outside, a children’s garden offers new spaces for learning and exploring.

City of Appleton Public Library
© SOM
City of Appleton Public Library
© SOM

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