Carmel Clay Public Library
  • Civic & Cultural

135,000 SF

Serving a Growing Community

The Carmel Clay Public Library’s usership has doubled since it opened in 1999.  A $37 million expansion presented an opportunity to improve functionality while also thinking about the building’s larger role in the community—a role befitting the prominent Main Street location adjacent to large public schools.

Design Opportunities

During our inclusive process, which engaged the library’s strategic steering committee as well as key stakeholders, staff, and community members, we saw the potential to transform the library into a vibrant community destination within budget.

The full renovation encompassed a two-story addition, a digital media lab relocated from off-site, and a new attached parking garage. The streetside elevation, previously a windowless brick wall, is now a soaring glass facade that engages street traffic and injects energy into the block.

New spaces expand the uses of the library to better serve the growing community. The library now has more flexible meeting space, an expansive teen area for the students nearby, an outdoor event lawn, a Main Street cafe, soundproof music practice rooms, and a storytelling area with high-tech lighting, audio, and special-effects systems.

Throughout the library, sophisticated and thoughtful design choices enhance the user experience and create a delightful destination of discovery. Gathering and meeting areas on the first and second floors can be locked off from the rest of the library to host after-hours functions.

The Carmel Clay Public Library has served its community for more than 100 years. We’re thrilled that we could create a versatile hub with a wealth of resources, places to learn and congregate, and an invigorating design that will continue the library’s mission for decades to come.

Street Presence

Previously, the building’s visibility on Carmel’s busy Main Street was underwhelming and obscured by landscaping. The new design exudes energy by populating the block with a variety of dynamic street-level elements. The cafe brings in pedestrians and adds life to the street, and the activity inside the Digital Media Lab and the second-floor reading room are visible to passing traffic through the glass curtain wall.

Continuous Design

The wood soffit below the new roof canopy extends inside, connecting the indoor and outdoor space.

Natural Light

Acknowledging missed opportunities in the original building design, we removed a drop ceiling to reveal clerestory windows that were concealed inside. Now sunlight can pour into the library, helping to add grandeur to the revamped main level, along with a new monumental staircase.

Energy-Efficient Lighting

All-new LED lighting throughout the building reduces its energy consumption by about 10 percent.

Digital Media Lab

Relocating this workspace from an off-site storefront creates a street-level anchor that adds vibrancy to the block as passersby can look in upon 3D printers and advanced recording equipment in use.