Projects, Design

Bringing Together Historic and Modern Architecture

Originally designed in 1876, the Woburn Public Library was built to serve a community of 13,000. As the local community continued to grow so did the need for additional space. By the early 2000’s, Woburn’s population had tripled and the existing 19,700 square foot building was in need of an expansion.


CBT Architects took on the challenge of a 30,500 square foot addition to provide space for additional programming including an innovation lab, quiet study rooms, a periodical reading room and a small meeting room. The design team was able double the size of the building, without requiring the library to double it’s staff, by placing staffed control points at key locations throughout the floor plan. The design team also created a more accessible space by adding an accessible second main entrance as well as an elevator to provide access to the third floor, ensuring all residents can benefit from the entire space.

Glass extension seamlessly connecting to historic structureCBT ensured the award-winning addition payed homage to the original national landmark without overshadowing it. By contrasting old and new, the glass extension seamlessly connects with the historic structure, providing impressive views of the original building’s architecture and masonry. Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope® (OBE) worked closely with Lockheed Architectural Solutions to provide innovative, high-performance solutions to meet the project’s ambitious goals. The integration between new and old is a custom-designed glazing system that mimics the lines of the existing masonry perfectly.

Over 10,000 sq. ft. of OBE Reliance® Curtain Wall encloses the glass addition, reflecting the original structure and providing views of central Woburn and nature to library guests. With a keen eye for the performance of the building and the comfort of staff and visitors, OBE worked closely with the design to provide Signature Series ZeroSightline-HT Vents to allow fresh air into the building with minimal sightlines. MS-375TC Thermal Entrances and Solar Eclipse™ Sunshades were integrated to manage the elements and solar heat gain, ensuring the building runs efficiently and lessening the load on heating and cooling systems. The project also leveraged OBE company CRL’s beautifully crafted Blumcraft® Entice® Series Entrance System to meet thermal performance requirements with all-glass aesthetics, continuing the expansive glass presence with minimal sightlines.

A light-filled glass connector created the new passageway between the existing building and the new, connecting the two structures in a balanced way and allowing visitors the choice between a historic or modern experience with every visit.

woburn public library curtain wall