CONTEXT - Summer 2017

Page 26


Buell Kratzer Powell

Inspired by the Wildwood beach region’s iconic, colorful, and geometric modern and Doo-Wop style architecture, the new Wildwood Crest Branch of the Cape May County Library System serves a community of 4,000 year-round residents that swells to 250,000 during the summer. The design brings two distinct community populations – locals and vacationers – together through architecture that feels both intimate and spacious, and that offers programmatic flexibility. The multitude of offerings provided by todays’ modern library – from technology to teaching – puts it at the heart of civic engagement and pride. BKP collaborated with the Cape May County Library facilities director and the Wildwood Crest Branch Library director to ensure the design met county objectives for budget, quality, and design, and library objectives for functionality, maintenance, and programming. Having outgrown its current building, the county acquired a former Masonic Temple that was renovated and expanded. The program includes adult, teen, and children’s collections, café, lounge, teaching kitchen, distance learning and small-group meeting spaces, and a 220-seat multi-purpose community room. Originally conceived by the county as a single-story renovation, the project was expanded during schematic design at the request of the community, library, and county. Both opportunity and need existed in Wildwood Crest for enhanced educational programming, library services, and community space. All agreed a larger facility would serve those purposes. The expansion incorporates additional storage, reading, and collection areas; inclusion of the large community room, which is available for public gatherings or special events; and a second 26  SUMMER 2017 | context | AIA Philadelphia