Bellevue Children’s Library & IDEAX Space

Bellevue, WA

Miller Hull Partnership

Lucrecia Blanco
Heli Ojamaa

This project consisted of two design build renovations happening in parallel within the biggest library building of the county system. Half of the project was the reuse and transformation of 7,000 SF to house the children’s collection, computer stations, a storytime area, and adjacent conference rooms. The other half was 3,000 SF of a brand new program as part of the county library systems initiative to create maker’s spaces.  The design team was faced with the challenge of renovating existing spaces and creating new programming within a building which had an established aesthetic. Also the design process involved two different schedules, budgets, and contractor teams working simultaneously to meet varied permits and the client’s deadlines.

The maker’s space is a prototype that will expand to other branches within the library system. It was vital to create branding for this new exciting initiative. The goal was that the design be inspiring, repeatable, and also following the library’s intention of encouraging children and youth to “create awesome in the world”, through exploration and play.

Being that it is a public library, the project budget was tight. Per owner’s request, some existing fluorescent fixtures were reused while still successfully meeting the stringent energy code.

The lighting concept was driven by the owner’s desire to keep things simple but playful.  Creative ways were found to use the same fixtures in different applications. Child centric design influenced decisions including the actual mounting height of the user interphase devices to be within reach of the children to allow them to control color changing fixtures. In both spaces, lighting is use-appropriate, playful and dynamic. The design came in on budget and within energy code.