At 100 years old, the majestic Ilsley Library in downtown Middlebury faces a laundry list of major building issues including poor air quality, moisture, aging mechanical systems, and inadequate space for staff, storage, and community gathering. The library invited VIA to participate in a design competition to imagine a new future for the historic building.
The Ilsley Public Library’s history, location, and purpose is what drove our design: EMBRACE THE PAST | LOOK TO THE FUTURE. With careful attention to the building’s historic character, VIA proposed a design to achieve the project’s main goals while significantly improving the library’s long-term sustainability. VIA’s design preserves and upgrades the grand, historic entrance on Main Street and activates the east side of the building with a new, accessible entrance. A three-story atrium brings daylight to all corners of the library, and the main floor of the historic building takes center stage as a welcoming community living room. Staff can monitor both entrances and activity throughout the library from a central circulation desk. VIA’s design concept practically and poetically honors the precious historic fabric of the historic building and adds an abundance of new, flexible space.