Palo Alto Children's Library

Project Location

Palo Alto, CA

Architect

Architectural Resources Group

Product

SL45

Case Study: Palo Alto Children's Library

America's oldest freestanding children's library stands nestled on a quiet street in Palo Alto. Noted local California architects Birge and David Clark designed this Spanish Colonial Revival gem, which was built in 1939 and includes a hand-molded Mission-style roof, child-sized furnishings, an exquisite fireplace tiled with iconic fairytale scenes and a historic garden.

Following a recent renovation, the classic structure also has a handsome NanaWall installation that complements its historic milieu.

San Francisco-based Architectural Resources Group (ARG) completed the $4.1 million update in 2007, closing off the garden with a side addition. In order to maintain the appeal of the existing garden, ARG specified a NanaWall enclosure with six panels of SL45 Aluminum Framed Folding System. The system opens up to a magical “Secret Garden” courtyard in the library from the multipurpose room, which was designed and added in ARG’s thoughtful scheme.

Francis Burnett’s famous 1910 children’s novel – The Secret Garden – was, in fact, the inspiration for this brick-walled retreat. “The NanaWall in the addition to the 1939 Palo Alto Children’s Library opens the modestly scaled program room onto the library’s historic Secret Garden,” states ARG's Cathleen Malmstrom, AIA.

“The NanaWall system enables the library to take advantage of a fine climate much of the year, and helps accommodate groups of 100 or more children for its very popular story hours.”

The Flexible Solution

Malmstrom adds that the ability to be indoors and outdoors is a great benefit to the users of the library, attracting many school groups, children and families throughout the year. “The NanaWall system enables the library to take advantage of a fine climate much of the year, and helps accommodate groups of 100 or more children for its very popular story hours,” says the architect Malmstrom.

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