Valente Branch Library Receives 2021 Library Building Award


7/21/2021

Valente Branch Library by Robert Benson Photography

The City of Cambridge and the Cambridge Public Library are pleased to announce that the Valente Branch Library and its architect, William Rawn Associates, and associate architect, Arrowstreet, are the recipients of the 2021 American Institute of Architecture and American Library Association Library Building Award. The AIA/ALA Library Building Award celebrates the best in library architecture and all aspects of library design.

Valente Branch is part of the King Open/Cambridge Street Upper Schools and Community Complex. The award highlights how the branch’s design shifts the focus from a place to store books to a place for gathering and exchanging ideas, and applauds the Library’s embrace of social justice and universal access as the project's core values.

"Creating a new Valente Branch Library was a critical component of the King Open and Cambridge Street Upper Schools and Community Complex project, which to date has won 14 awards," said City Manager Louis A. DePasquale. "The Valente Branch Library is a beautiful addition to Cambridge Street, and it serves as a welcoming civic space for its surrounding neighborhood and the entire Cambridge community."

"I am thrilled that the City, the Library, and William Rawn Associates are being honored with this award in recognition of the intentional design of the new Valente Branch Library," said Maria McCauley,PhD., Director of Libraries. "It is wonderful to see community members gather in this innovative and light-filled space, from families visiting for story time, to individuals working, studying and relaxing."

The 10,000 square foot Valente Branch, which reopened in 2019, is twice the size of the previous building and is designed to meet the needs of a growing and diverse neighborhood. The new branch is an all-electric net-zero emissions building, meaning it does not emit greehhouse gases from fossil fuels. The building also generates a portion of its own electric power from the solar array on the roof. Cambridge Public Library thanks everyone who was part of the project team. Funding for the Valente Branch Library was provided by the City of Cambridge and the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.

King Open/Cambridge Street Upper Schools and Community Complex Awards to date:
2019 - USGBC MA Building of the Year
2020 - Architect’s Newspaper Green Building
2020 - Architect’s Newspaper Interiors
2020 - Chicago Athenaeum American Architecture Award
2020 - Congress for New Urbanism Charter Award
2020 - ENR Regional Best K-12 Education
2020 - ENR Regional Best Project of the Year
2020 - IES Illumination Awards Award of Merit - Energy/Environmental Lighting Design
2020 - Architect’s Newspaper Architectural Lighting Honorable Mention
2020 - BSA Honor Award Design Excellence
2020 - BSA Honor Award Sustainability
2021 – Chicago Athenaeum Good Green Design Award
2021 – ALA/AIA Design Excellence
2021- BSLA Award of Merit

About the Cambridge Public Library: 
At the Cambridge Public Library, we welcome all, inspire minds and empower community. We support a Cambridge where everyone has equitable opportunities to learn, people live their best lives, and democracy thrives.

Photo: Valente Branch Library by Robert Benson Photography