Securing the Future of Jones Library through Sustainable Design

A sensitive restoration shepherds Amherst’s 100-year-old public library into a new century of community service

Jones Library

Town of Amherst
Amherst, Massachusetts

Originally built to look like a residence, Jones Public Library was designed by Putnam & Cox in 1928. This initial vision for the library was prophetic, for over the years Jones Library has become a true home for this passionate community of thinkers and learners in the Pioneer Valley. The Town of Amherst and the Library hired Finegold Alexander Architects to help shepherd the beloved but now outdated and undersized facility into its next century of service. The expanded library will meet contemporary needs, addressing accessibility issues while introducing upgrades to security, the HVAC system, and technology. Front and center in this endeavor are issues of sustainability. Finegold Alexander developed strategies to reduce levels of energy consumption of the existing historic building, studying how a new addition can be designed in a way that will minimize the environmental impact of an expanded facility. The Jones Library project is currently in Design Development, with an expected construction start date in the summer of 2023. Head here to learn more about the sustainable design of Jones Library.

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63,000 SF, estimated
Preservation, Renovation, Addition
Stacks, Teen and Adult Reading Areas, Children's Room, Community Meeting Space, Media Space
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Project EUI
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“One of the deciding factors in choosing Finegold Alexander was the … work they did at the Holyoke Library. It was really pretty impressive. The trustees were looking for an architect to develop a plan that honors the history of the 88-year-old building while bringing it into the 21st century."
Tamson Ely, Jones Library Trustee

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While the project was in the Schematic Design stage, the Jones Library Sustainability Committee tasked Finegold Alexander with reviewing possibilities to greatly reduce the library’s environmental impact by creating a low-carbon project. This involved examining energy and operational carbon use as well as the embodied carbon of the building’s materials and con­struction. To this end, detailed energy modeling was con­ducted and a full life-cycle assessment was completed with Tally software.

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“This is the kind of project that taps the strengths of our firm, and we look forward to combining our talents to restore the historic town library to one that is as architecturally significant as it was when originally built, with the amenities that libraries today require.”
Tony Hsiao, Finegold Alexander Principal and Design Director