When it opened in 1966, the Renton Library was an engineering feat. With pre-cast concrete and wood truss joists creating a stunning 80-foot central span across Washington State’s Cedar River and active salmon habitat, the library is beloved by generations of families and community members. Preservation of this community treasure was a clear priority for the project, but, by 2015, the library’s envelope was deteriorating and not in line with current energy codes. And the structural system and chief design element did not measure up to current seismic standards.
The original concept of the library as a bridge is very powerful, yet it feels as if it took this redesign for the library to fully reach its potential. This iconic location now connects the downtown district to the City Park, bringing life and activity to the spaces within and around the library. The project impressively was able to effect a major renovation without disrupting the habitat and hydraulics of the river below.