The City of San Antonio paid a visual tribute to the traditional Texas red barn with the design of the new John Igo Branch Library, the latest addition to the City’s library system. In a nod to the area’s agriculture history, the barn-like facility sits in an open field while the parking lot weaves in and out of native Texas trees. The quiet, rural setting is in paradox with the reason the addition was built: the San Antonio Library System needed to catch up with northwest San Antonio’s exponential growth.
The City of San Antonio called on general contractor F.A. Nunnelly to build the new branch, located at 13330 Kyle Seale Parkway, and Nunnelly in turn called on its long-time partnership with Ceco Building Systems to construct this unique building.
“At Ceco, we tell our architect partners there are ‘no limits’ when designing a custom-designed Ceco building, and Heath Wenrich of RVK Architects in San Antonio certainly took advantage of the opportunity for creativity in design,” said Roger Burlingame, President of Ceco Building Systems.
F.A. Nunnelly put together a project team consisting of United Erectors, RVK Architects and Lundy and Franke as structural engineer. Their choice for custom-designed building system was Ceco.
Construction began in late 2006 on the 19,000 square-foot facility that is a modern-day interpretation of a traditional red barn. The project was finished by September 2007.
An old homestead had previously occupied the property, and the goal was to maintain that image and feel. The site contained large Centennial oak trees that had to be worked around.
“I wanted to provide a ‘library in the park’ that preserves the land and its history,” commented Wenrich. “We re-planted wildflowers in the planting areas and among the grasses. The wildflowers had covered the site the summer before construction began. The building is a modern-day version of the typical red barn, complete with a windmill and watering hole.”
According to Nunnelly, the 40-foot-tall windmill beside the library is unique because it was a commissioned piece of art by James Hetherington. “It not only helps convey the barn theme, it also serves a purpose. It generates electricity and pumps it back to the building. The entire project was designed well. RVK keeps constructability and functionality in mind when they design their projects.”
Metal roof and wall panels by Ceco Building Systems played a part in the beauty and economy of the new facility. “Metal was an easy way to obtain the look and colors required while not producing any maintenance issues,” commented Sam Nunnelly, project manager at F.A. Nunnelly. “The economy of the metal building also made it possible to keep this project in budget, while being concerned with the green aspect.”
The building contains a large expanse of glass, allowing readers sunlight and a calming view of the peaceful, natural outdoors. The steel frame is not hidden but is incorporated into the design of the interior. Along one of the interior walls is a giant mural depicting the windmill outside the library, along with a quote from the building’s namesake, John Igo, a pillar of the San Antonio community.
Exterior wall panels are Ceco ShadowRib® 24-gauge Signature 300 Series in Colonial Red. Roof panels were Battenlok® 24-gauge Bare Galvalume finish.
F.A. Nunnelly Company is a full-service commercial general contractor. It is a family owned business located in San Antonio since 1922. Fourth-generation family members still serve clients and are adept at using Ceco Buildings to help an owner meet his design and budget criteria.