New library picks up on area’s style, gives patrons space to congregate
The William H. Jervey Jr. Venice Public Library has walls of glass and lots of natural light.
| 6:10 a.m. September 6, 2019
It’s all about the books.
From the seating areas to the electrical outlets, the new William H. Jervey Jr. Venice Public Library keeps in mind the many books the facility houses — and the patrons who use it.
Kent Hayes, director of client services for Tandem Construction, says the electrical outlets in the building, for example, are intentionally flipped upside down. For public buildings that store paper materials and books, flipping the outlets lessens the risk of a book falling off table or shelf, hitting a plug and causing sparks because the ground is on the top.
Even before outlets could be installed, the construction team, which included Tandem Construction in partnership with Ajax Building Corp., was hard at work on the exterior of the building.
After the old library was demolished, construction on the new one began. Because the library is in the City of Venice, certain Venetian style requirements had to be taken into account.
Gabriela Kaniuga, assistant project manager for Tandem Construction, says her favorite features of the building are the groin vaults near the entranceway by the front loggia. The people who crafted the groin vaults are specialized artisans, she says. “A lot of buildings don’t have those elements any more.”
In keeping with the architecture of Venice, the library also has windows that appear to look arched. It can be hard to find arched windows with a high enough hurricane rating, so the windows at the library are actually rectangular. They are recessed from the outside of the building so there’s a space between an arched opening and the window itself. “It looks pretty looking out and looking in,” says Kaniuga.
Other design elements, such as metal work and tiles, are carried throughout the entire building. Through a wall of glass, library patrons can see out to another key feature of the facility: the reading garden.
“The City of Venice residents really love their library.” — Gabriela Kaniuga, assistant project manager, Tandem Construction
Also important to the library is the Friends of the Venice Public Library bookstore. Through the nonprofit’s fundraising, they were able to add additional features to the library, including an Italian mosaic tile compass rose in the floor underneath a skylight in the adult collections area. It was an addition that showcased the group’s and patrons’ connection to the library. “The City of Venice residents really love their library,” says Kaniuga.
• Project: William H. Jervey Jr. Venice Public Library
• Builder: Tandem Construction (in partnership with Ajax Building Corp.)
• Designer/architect: Sweet Sparkman Architects
• Location: Venice
• Completion: December 2018
• Value: $9.4 million
• Size: 26,574 square feet
• Challenges: The biggest challenge on the project also had a positive note, showing the strength of the Friends of the Venice Public Library, a nonprofit dedicated to enhancing the community through its library. “Because the Friends are so active and so good with fundraising, they kept coming back with more money,” says Gabriela Kaniuga, assistant project manager for Tandem Construction. That meant more funds for additional projects at the library during construction. It also required adaptations to the plan. The challenge is a unique one in construction, she says. “There are not a lot of times you get more money thrown at you while you’re building.”