Free Library of Philadelphia

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2019 / Built

The interior renovation to the Free Library of Philadelphia, located in a 90-year old Beaux Arts building on Logan Square, aims to restore the building to its original grandeur while creating new public spaces for the library of the 21st century.

The current renovation project removes the original six-level prefabricated steel structures that house the book stacks, relocates 800,000 volumes of books to a retrievable offsite location, and returns 30,000 square feet of previously private space to the public realm. The renovated stack space will house the new Business, Research and Innovation Center, Teen Center, and the Common – a space conceived as the new hub of the library. The Common will serve and support the social and technological needs of the community and adapt to suit their evolving interests.

The renovation involved deconstructing six levels of historic, private stacks, and replacing them with new gathering spaces for the public.

The Business, Research, and Innovation Center provides space and resources for community leaders and small business owners to grow their organizations, as well as support job seekers pursuing new opportunities.

The Marie and Joseph Field Teen Center is a lounge and gathering space with an open plan populated by movable furniture to accommodate a range of teen-centric programming and needs.


A rendered animation demonstrating the renovations of 6 floors of stacks to create new public spaces, highlighting the connections between the existing building and the new resources.