Julia Ideson Library Renovation

Project Profile: Julia Ideson Library Renovation

Firm name: Redding Linden Burr Consulting Engineers

Project building name and location: Julia Ideson Library Renovation, Houston, Texas

Type of building and type of project: Public Libraries, Renovation

Project completion date and project duration: Late 2011

Engineering challenges and solutions:

Keeping the library in operation during construction

  • The Julia Ideson Library houses special collections, rare books and reference materials not available elsewhere in the City’s library system. A requirement of the project was that portions of the facility stay in operation at all times. This required significant planning, plus design accommodations of temporary moves.

Maintaining tight temperature and humidity tolerances

  • A consulting archivist established specific temperature and humidity ranges for each area of the library. The requirements were much stricter than most buildings, even those for ‘normal’ libraries. Houston’s hot, humid climate made the task especially daunting. Our design used sophisticated equipment and controls to achieve these results. Also we had to balance the environmental requirements with the goals of minimizing energy use and attaining LEED certification. We employed techniques such as energy recovery and desiccant de-humidification. A commissioning process was used to verify system performance.

Maintaining historical architectural elements and finishes

  • For historical preservation reasons, many of the existing ceilings, walls and trim could not be revised. However the function of some spaces changed and that required additional HVAC, power and lighting. The historical aspects made it very difficult to route new duct, pipes or conduits and close coordination was required between all trades. During design, the 3-D functionality of the BIM model was used extensively to evaluate routing options.

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