Gloucester Lyceum & Sawyer Free Library

This Public Library lies within the civic heart of Gloucester, Massachusetts, and in 2009 began a refurbishing program that would address the buildings, one of which dates from 1764, and the surrounding landscape. This presented an opportunity to strengthen pedestrian and visual connections to the grand architecture of City Hall and the Post Office, while enhancing access to the library for all and bringing access into ADA compliance. A gathering space, broad and curving amphitheatre steps, ramps, a children's play area and an opportunity for a future sculpture are now completed. Hardscape materials were chosen to blend with and complement Gloucester's historic buildings, while celebrating Cape Ann's signature granite and history of quarrying stone. New steel fencing design incorporates seating along Dale Avenue, and the sinuous curves of raised granite planters serve as a counterpoint to the library's large scale rectilinear mass. What was once a very dark area is now transformed into a bright, cathedral-like space, allowing a venerable copper beech to flourish and dominate the garden. It is called the John and Dorothy Rando Memorial Garden, and is visited by many as a place to gather, have lunch, read, and find quiet respite.