A dramatic facelift.
Library goes from dark and empty to high school hub.
Creating a centerpiece from an outdated shell
Built in the 1970s, Palo Alto High School’s library was dark, disjointed, and uninviting. Faculty offices and storage spaces crowded the building’s perimeter, leaving an echoing, two-story column in the building’s center to house the underutilized library. Working closely with Palo Alto High School staff and leadership, the team identified key goals to include: a classic feel with modern finishes and turning the library back into a hub of activity rather than a space to be passed by. The team envisioned a space that would support a wide variety of work styles and activities that featured updated technology, natural light, and a more functional, open layout with clear sightlines and improved circulation patterns.
Still contained within its original footprint, the modernized building is now a popular destination for students, housing four distinct program areas: the library, an adjacent gallery, college and career counseling, and guidance services.
HED introduced wood paneling and modern furnishings to add warmth and softness, unifying the interior and contributing to the perception of the new library as a cohesive space. A new mezzanine level with a dramatic spiral staircase now divides the space into upper and lower levels and displays the library’s old and rare books collections, and the addition of large windows and skylights now fill the interior with natural light.