Making it Fit - APS lab and library
APS lab and library

Making it Fit

AxD was tasked with the four-phase implementation of a master plan prepared by Shepley Bulfinch. The existing space designated to receive a new conservation lab for the library collections was a mezzanine storage room constrained by low beams and numerous columns. Rather than mask the structure (and lose space) the beams were tightly wrapped – creating a generous coffered ceiling. Columns were accentuated with blonde wood paneling – to serve as “docking stations” for equipment and decorative sconces.

APS lab and library


Accommodating new functions within the constraints of existing rooms required flexibility. Many custom furnishings were created, featuring drop-leaves, pull-outs, and wheels for mobility. Wall surfaces also became well utilized. In the case of the Fellows’ Lounge, walls provide writing surfaces, a projection display, notice board, periodicals display, coat storage, kitchenette and computer access station.

Flexibility - Always by Design - Philadelphia Architect
Providing Clarity - APS lab and library
APS lab and library

Providing Clarity

In the main reading room of the library, a new space for visitor check-in was required. Rather than wall-off an existing alcove or introduce faux-classical elements, a frameless glass wall was inserted between existing columns. This strategy maintained the visual splendor of the original reading room while providing the necessary physical and acoustic barrier between uses.


PROJECT:Interior renovations to Franklin Hall and Library Hall of the American Philosophical SocietyLOCATION:Philadelphia, PAARCHITECT:Always by Design, architect-of-record; Ed Barnhart, principal-in-charge; Justin Tocci, designer