Tucked away within the quiet residential 6th Street of East Cambridge is the Cambridge Public Library’s O’Connell Branch. Featuring a historic red brick design and wood-paneled entrance doors, the intimate, one-room library is one of six major branches offering library services and community programs to longtime residents and newcomers to East Cambridge since 1939.
As part of the branch’s revitalization, the pre-existing paved entryway and adjacent turf beds were replaced with a brand new, permeable paved walkway and outdoor community gathering area lined with lush garden beds and seating. Illuminating cubes featuring distinct butterfly wing designs and colors are scattered along the walkway, providing ample lighting throughout the space. The designers, Virginia Stewart Design and Anjali Joshi Design, chose Unilock Eco-Promenade® pavers in an Umbriano® finish within contrasting yin and yang shades for a sleek, contemporary look and feel to the exterior of the library. Distinct streaks of grey planks are interspersed along the walkway at a 45-degree angle, mimicking the appearance of rain droplets to create stunning visual interest. The front steps were left untouched, in order to preserve the historical integrity of the space, with Eco-Promenade plank pavers arranged in a herringbone pattern at the base of the steps to ensure superior ‘lock-up’ against paver shifting, where pedestrian traffic is at its busiest.
Eco-Promenade pavers were selected for their sustainable, eco-friendly linear design, and feature wider joints that help absorb excess rainwater back into the subsoil. This aids in mitigating stormwater runoff back into sewer drains, while reducing puddling and ice buildup on the surface during the winter months. The newly-designed O’Connell Branch provides an inspiring community area that is warm and inviting, with a unique outdoor gathering area that will see residents and visitors stopping to enjoy their favorite books al fresco.