Our Work

Saint Paul Central Library

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    • the entries to the East and West Wings now seamlessly integrate new security technology
    • Overview

      “Repainted, buffed up and shining with new life, the building’s signature spaces. . . look simply wonderful.”
      —Larry Millett, Saint Paul Pioneer Press

      A downtown landmark, constructed in 1917 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this central library faced space constraints, inefficient organization, and outmoded technology. The renovation consolidates service points; increases public accessibility to the collection; upgrades power, communication, and data systems; and restores historically significant interior spaces. Respecting the historic building’s aesthetic, the design features a new entry pavilion with a coffee bar; extensive remodeling of the East Wing; four new floors in the West Wing to accommodate books and periodicals, study carrels, and computers; a new access ramp for youth services; new mechanical and electrical systems; and cleaned and restored stone and plaster surfaces.

    • the main reading room, circa 1918
    • before the renovation, the reading room was dingy, overcrowded, and inefficient
    • the restored reading room now serves as an information commons with a new mezzanine
    • the project included restoring painted plaster ceilings and replicating light fixtures
    • the renovation saved a much-loved puppet theater from the original children’s library
    • Specifications

      Location: Saint Paul, Minnesota

      Type: Historic renovation

      Size: 88,000 square feet

    • Awards

      Preservation Alliance of Minnesota Honor Award.
      Saint Paul Heritage Preservation Commission Heritage Preservation Award.
      City Pages’ 2004 Best of the Twin Cities: Best Library.
      Minnesota Concrete & Masonry Contractors Excellence in Masonry Design & Construction Award.
    • Project Contact

      Jack Poling

      • Architect / Principal
      • jack@msrdesign.com
      • 612 384 7574
      • View Bio

      Traci Engel Lesneski

      • Interior Designer / Principal
      • traci@msrdesign.com
      • 612 991 7764
      • View Bio