Ben F. McDonald Public Library Renovation
Corpus Christi, Texas
The original library was constructed in 1964 with an addition and partial renovation in 1991. Voter-approved 2008 bond referendum improvements included new HVAC system, replacement of the 1991 addition leaky curtainwall system, re-roofing and new parking lot. SolkaNavaTorno was able to maximize bond dollars, coupled with private donations and grants to increase the scope to include complete interior renovation. Building accessibility was brought into full compliance with Texas Accessibility Standards. Functional improvements were made to the library and the Corpus Christi Literacy Council, who shares space in the building.
The emphasis of the library has shifted more towards children by incorporating a space and science theme. The main entrance transports you through an air lock similar to one you might imagine on a space craft of the future. The children’s library area is divided from the adult area by low bookshelves and the entrance is framed by mock Tesla coils. Look up and see the ceiling that resembles a space ship with vapor trails soaring through the entire library, tying the Children’s Library to young adult and adult areas as well. Several custom millwork pieces such as a space shuttle reading vessel, rocket play feature, Ares I rocket arbor that defines the toddler area and custom laminate computer counters enforce the space and science theme. The leaky curtainwall was replaced with stucco and ceramic tile-finished stud framed wall that undulates in height as it does in plan. Ceramic tile mosaic contains yellow tiles strategically arranged to form constellations on the dark blue sky background.