The library has received recognition for both interior and exterior design.
By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
POLAND -- The newly built Poland library with its old-style curb appeal and a historical building attached to the side was designed to be a perfect fit in the village's historical district.
The building is two stories, crowned with a white cupola that has windows offering views in every direction. There are four sections to the front of the off-white building with many small windows, balconies and a stream running just a few feet from the building's east side -- picture perfect.
The inside of the building, however, is what is drawing national attention: It was chosen from a field of 130 national entries to receive the Chandler Design Award for excellence in interior design, sponsored by the Patcraft Commercial Carpet company. Poland library architect Robert Mastriana said the award focuses on the use of carpet in the interior but factors in all points of the inside design.
"Instead of just coming in and laying wall-to-wall carpet, the carpet we used inside of the library is more of an architectural feature of the building," said Mastriana.
Patrons coming through the front doors at street level place their first steps inside the library on finished wood floors recycled from old New England barns. There are a few feet before one hits the first bit of carpeting, and that is where Mastriana says the first hints of the award-winning design become evident.
The carpet, a somewhat speckled dark brown with a very light brown fringe, enhances the natural beauty of those restored floorboards, Mastriana said. Carpet and wood floors are interspersed throughout the library.
Patrons who take the time to look up will notice the wooden crossbeams close to the ceiling and the marble dome light fixtures with antique rims that Mastriana says match the floorboards perfectly and are also enhanced by the carpeting.
Between the ceiling and floors are about 104 off-white Greek Doric fluted columns placed throughout the building, and brown coat plaster walls with hand-formed edges, both of which Mastriana said make the library appear old while creating a mood of tranquillity.
According to Mastriana, the crackle black-finished chairs and tables used in the library also blend perfectly with the carpet, wood floors and walls, enhancing the peaceful mood. Add a carefully selected collection of artwork on permanent loan from artists and you have an interior design deemed worthy of national recognition by contest judges.
Exterior receives attention
The exterior of the building has received its fair share of attention as well as having been featured in the Main Street revitalization edition of Clem Labine's Traditional Building magazine, a professional resource for public architecture.
The attention given the interior and exterior design of the building has paid off. Library director Carlton Sears said use of the Poland library has soared to about 18,000 people per month -- far above expectations.
"It's a destination point now," said Mastriana. "People come as a family and eat dinner in the cafe. After that, the adults go to the adult reading areas and children can go to their reading areas."
Judges for the Chandler award were registered architect Roger Godwin, managing editor of Gensler Atlanta and member of the Design Futures Council Board of Advisors; Maria Bordwell, senior manager of design, the Environments Group in Chicago; and Tiffany English, interior designer, Ware Malcomb Architects.