Camano Island Library project garners design award

Camano Island Library photo
The Camano Island Library is a striking addition to Terry’s Corner on Camano Island. Photo by Lucas Henning. Photo gallery 

Camano Island Library staff members are getting used to hearing customers’ verbal votes of approval about their building:

“Ooh, what a nice library!”

“Aah, what a pleasant space.”

And now, it’s official. The Camano Island Library is an award-winning design.

Library art dedication set for Saturday, May 21

From the beginning, art was part of the design for the Camano Island Library and on Saturday afternoon, May 21, work by three local artists will dedicated for permanent display at the library.

The event is scheduled for 2-4 p.m. at the Camano Island Library, 848 N. Sunrise Blvd., Camano Island, WA 98282.

“When the library moved to the new location, we decided we needed permanent art as part of the décor,” said Norma Mouton, chair of the Friends of Camano Island Library Art Committee. “We worked with the architect to determine where (the art would be located).”

Art works to be dedicated on Saturday are:

  • “Wonders and Curiosities on Every Shelf,” a 14-foot by 2-foot, mixed-media mural printed digitally on aluminum by Danny Koffman.
  • “Brown, Matsui, and Levi Strauss,” by Duane Simshauser includes metal plates, hardware cloth, jeans, branches, concert tickets, acrylic on wood panels.
  • “Islanders,” a steel sculpture conceptualized by John Ebner and fabricated by Ryan Jansen.

The AIA Northwest Washington chapter of the American Institute of Architects has honored architect Dan Nelson of Stanwood-based Designs Northwest, Stig Carlson of Stig Carlson Architecture in Coupeville, general contractor Kirtley Cole Construction of Everett and Sno-Isle Libraries with a Citation Award for their collective work in turning a former restaurant into a library.

The honor was bestowed May 5 at the group’s annual awards dinner in Bellingham. The awards celebrate projects that represent the finest standards in sustainability, innovation, building performance and overall integration with the client and surrounding community. Architects based in Whatcom, Skagit, San Juan and Island counties are eligible for consideration.

“I think the award is recognition that we took an existing structure and turned that into a focal point and an asset for the community,” Nelson said. “The award criteria included social enhancement and community involvement. There was really good community input, a lot of public meetings and working closely with Camano Islanders.”

The process for a Camano Island Library began in December, 2006, when the Sno-Isle Libraries Board of Trustees approved a pilot library project. Six months later a temporary facility opened in a storefront at Terry’s Corner. With voter approval of funding, work began in 2014 on the then-empty Islanders Restaurant, also at Terry’s Corner in Camano Commons, and the new library opened in August, 2015.

“We had a good working relationship with Dan at Designs Northwest, Stig Carlson and everyone on the project,” said Jeanne Crisp, Director of Facilities and Special Projects for Sno-Isle Libraries.

It helped, Nelson said, that his firm was familiar with the site.

“We did the initial concept for Camano Commons and the schematic for the restaurant that the library eventually became,” Nelson said. “”Then, Stig came together with Designs Northwest to work on the library. There were challenges in turning a facility that had been a restaurant into a library, but it helped the functionality to add approximately 900 square feet on to the original structure.”

By all accounts, the customers, community and the library district are happy with the now award-winning result.

“The support of the community meant we can provide what they had asked for: adequate library space for children’s activities; a larger selection of popular books, movie and music titles; as well as more space and public computers for research, school assignments and comfortable browsing,” Jonalyn Woolf-Ivory, Sno-Isle Libraries Executive Director said. “A permanent library on Camano Island enables Sno-Isle Libraries to continue to focus on building literate, economically sound and connected communities.”

Other firms involved in the project include structural engineering by Lund Opsahl of Seattle, interior design by H2K Design of Stanwood, mechanical  consultant RICE Group of Lynnwood and electrical by Case Engineering of Bothell. Jayme Zold and Kim Williams were the project architects from Designs Northwest Architects who also worked on the project.