Project Highlight: San Jose Cambrian Branch Library

Libraries now days are competing with large bookstores and the Cambrian Branch has the means to be a contender. San Jose’s new library, designed by Anderson Brulé Architects, opened in November. The LEED certified building is 28,000 sq. ft. and includes an informal communal area with a cozy fireplace; group areas for meetings; technical center; Internet café; study spaces; a story-telling venue; and community space.

The two-story building incorporates more seating and computers than the previous library. Free WiFi coupled with big comfy chairs make for an inviting atmosphere. Artists Andrea Myklebust and Stanton Sears created a magnificent piece that runs the length of the stairway. The stainless steel panels woven with steel wire represent the local agricultural history.

TA’s acoustical involvement started in the design phase to promote natural acoustics with room finishes, while enhancing speech intelligibility in the meeting rooms and counter areas.

The audiovisual component of TA’s design includes a paging and background system through out the building. The children’s area and teen’s room are equipped with individual CD players and tuners for appropriate music choices for those groups. The Community Room & Technical Center includes:

• permanent ceiling-mounted data projector for front screen projection
•retractable screen
•DVD/VHS combination player
•In-wall loudspeakers for program audio
•ceiling-mounted loudspeakers
•cut-off switch to over-ride paging system during events
•hearing assistance system for ADA compliance
•flat-panel monitor recessed within the teaching station
•moveable lectern with built-in computer/video interface and microphone
•controls for sound, projector, screen, room lighting and audiovisual system power

Libraries have always been a community gathering place, a source for information as well as inspiration. Cambrian Branch Library invites, preserves a history embodied in its art and in its tradition and successfully competes against upscale bookstores.