Slover Library Grand Opening Weekend Begins January 9th

Slover Library in Norfolk, VA.

After more than six years of planning and development, the City of Norfolk is opening the new Slover Library on January 9, 2015. Offering the most advanced technology, the 138,000 square foot complex— designed by Newman Architects — redefines how a public library is used, providing a civic space for creativity, collaboration, and research.

The new Slover Library is a restoration of the 115-year-old Seaboard building (formerly a customs house before becoming home to Norfolk’s main library in 2009), a new seven-story glass walled addition, and a renovation of an adjacent commercial building, the Selden Arcade. The Seaboard’s interior cortile, a central court surrounded by an arcade and a ring of enclosed rooms, is mirrored in the design of the glass addition. The western wall of the Seaboard has been opened to the new space, making its interior accessible to library patrons, while remaining visually connected to the outdoors through the new addition. Natural light weaves through the material of the new building to unite an interior public realm with the outdoor public realm of the city. The new Slover Library embodies the principal roles of today’s library: as a storehouse for the region’s history and artifacts, as a portal to digital access, and as a community gathering place.

Slover Library reflects a relationship between the old and new: the solidity of the restored masonry Seaboard and a transparent and inviting addition. The spaces are structured to link to each other through the Forum, a three-story atrium at its center. Visitors can see the library contents upon entering the building and elect to explore the collection and engage in the programs. The library is a series of spaces and activities displayed off this central space. A hub for exchange and interchange, Slover Library is a town in miniature, with the Forum serving as its town square.

From the project’s inception, Newman Architects worked with New Haven-based sculptor, Kent Bloomer, to develop a system of ornament that is an integral, organic part of the architectural whole. Bloomer’s ornament amplifies three distinct points of the building: the ceiling of the Forum, the front entrance, and the third floor terrace of the loggia.

A combined public and private endeavor, the $65 million building was made possible by a $40 million gift from Frank and Jane Batten and a $21 million contribution from the City. The project led to the creation of the Slover Foundation, which contributed an additional $4 million to the initial construction. The library is named in honor of Colonel Samuel L. Slover, a former Mayor of Norfolk and uncle of Frank Batten, Sr.

For more information on this project, please click here.

For press coverage relating to Slover Library, please click the following links: Architect Magazine, New Haven Register, Art Daily, Arch News Now, Broadway World, Virtual Strategy Magazine, Daily Press, News Channel 3, News Channel 3, The Virginian-Pilot, The Virginian-Pilot, The Virginian-Pilot,