Newton Children’s Library

September 14th, 2020

Constructed in 1991, the Newton Free Library is one of the largest libraries in Massachusetts and has the distinction of loaning the most items in the Commonwealth. Yet, even this modern library required upgrades to meet rapidly evolving technology and service demands. LLB Architects began its relationship with the City of Newton when it conducted a master plan for the Library in 2016 to develop a comprehensive plan for future space allocation and library programming for the next 20 years.

As part of a series of phased renovations, LLB transformed part of the library’s ground floor into a Teen Zone in 2018. The new Teen Center has a mix of study seating, a program/activity space, computer lab, and a brand new maker’s space.

In 2022, the reimagined Children’s Room opened to great reviews from local families. The redesign expanded the space by 4,000 sf resulting in a new spacious Children’s Room of 12,700 square feet. The space includes the main children’s area, the craft and story room, staff offices, expanded family restrooms, and storage space.

Beam Therapeutics Laboratory Expansions

July 7th, 2020

After a period of rapid growth and success, Beam Therapeutics once again employed LLB Architect’s design services to revisit their headquarters and expand the areas dedicated to research and development laboratories. Space is at a premium in the urban neighborhood and this original building’s structure is notably irregular. These factors drove design decisions and considerations which optimized the use of every square foot. The design includes custom furnishings to fit within the irregular angles of the original building structure, thin glazed conference walls which double as writeable surfaces, and designs which provide glimpses into the innovative research through carefully curated glazed walls. Many products specified were consistent with the products and standards established in the original 2017 design project with this same client.

On the Boards: URI’s Ranger Hall

May 21st, 2020

Over the years, LLB Architects has worked with the University of Rhode Island on a number of projects including the construction of the sustainability-focused residence building Hillside Hall and the award-winning Gender and Sexuality Center, the first of its kind in the United States.

This year, LLB developed designs to renovate the upper levels of the historic Ranger Hall for the Harrington School of Communication and Media. The program consists of classrooms, a film production lab, video editing suites, and an administrative suite. Room acoustics and AV integration are focal points of the design as the new spaces will be used for critical listening and viewing. The mechanical system design also requires close attention as the air distribution system needs to work with the constraints of the wood frame structure while at the same time operate with utmost quietness.

The renderings show one of the active learning classrooms (air link audiovisual technology allows for moveable furniture) and the renovated central corridor that is enhanced with alcoves and sitting benches for informal social interaction.

A message about COVID-19

April 15th, 2020

LLB Architects Principals

During this challenging time, LLB Architects is committed to our staff, colleagues, clients and community, utilizing new ways of working with our clients and colleagues to accomplish important project milestones.

We are focused on minimizing disruptions in our work, from the ways we collaborate with engineers on our projects to how we source materials for upcoming construction. Although we are proud that LLB and our consultants have not experienced project delays to date, we recognize that with fast-paced changes in construction and business regulations, disruptions and delays are possible. We are working hard to anticipate, adapt, and avoid such instances within our control.

Our commitment to our clients, colleagues and work remains a driving focus for each of us at LLB Architects. Our Project Managers are dedicated to meeting goals and making our projects run as seamlessly as possible. We are always here to speak with you. Simply call our main office line at 401.421.7715 and your call will be quickly routed to us.

We hope you are well and navigating these uncertain times as smoothly as you can. Thank you for being part of our community. We feel fortunate to be a part of yours.

RI College Gaige Hall Renovation Featured in Providence Business News

April 1st, 2020

See a photo profile of LLB’s renovation project on Gaige Hall at Rhode Island College in the Fresh Design column of the March 27 issue of Providence Business News.

Worcester DCU Center Renovations

March 5th, 2020

LLB worked with the City of Worcester under an On-Call Services contract to complete renovations to the DCU Center. The DCU Center, located in Downtown Worcester, hosts a large variety of events, from trade shows to concerts. It also features an arena for hockey and other sporting events. Completed renovations include upgrades to the hockey board systems, ice deck seals, and painting.

Five LLB Projects Receive AIA RI Design Awards

December 13th, 2019


LLB Architects received five awards at AIA Rhode Island’s 2019 Design Awards. Franklin Public Library won a Merit Award for its sensitive renovation and addition. Two projects at Rhode Island College, Craig-Lee Hall and Gaige Hall, both received Citation Awards for significant renovations. A new Squash & Education Center building on Moses Brown School’s campus received a Citation Award. A creative renovation to a historic library which created the Weston Art & Innovation Center received a Citation Award. The five projects all demonstrate a custom approach to designing spaces to best fit the needs of the users and the surrounding community.

The Franklin Public Library, established in 1790 with a donation from Benjamin Franklin, is widely considered to be the nation’s first public library. LLB Architects received a Merit Award for designing a 6,000 sf addition and restoring and renovating the existing 22,000 sf structure. The design provided an opportunity to create a dramatic and significantly modern addition, which LLB tucked behind the historic building in order not to distract from the original architecture. The addition increases the capacity of the general stacks, provides much-needed meeting and community rooms, enlarges the size of the children’s room, and creates a young adult room. The AIA Rhode Island jury praised how “the large-scale corner openings give the light a volumetric quality inside the building while the texture and color of the terra cotta addition contrasts the granite of the original structure.”

Both Rhode Island College’s Craig-Lee Hall and Gaige Hall were honored with Citation Awards by AIA Rhode Island for ambitious renovations. One of the first buildings constructed on the campus, Craig-Lee was overdue for renovation. A key goal was to modernize and integrate Craig-Lee Hall into the campus and transform the relationship between it and Gaige Hall, since both are prominent buildings that face the main quad. A new addition facing the end of the quad repositions the building on campus. On the ground level, a large student lounge engages with the newly landscaped edge of the quad and invites students into the building. AIA Rhode Island jury members commented, “the façade and therefore the quad, appear to be successfully activated by the additional student lounges at the end of each corridor and at the ground floor, providing daylight and views deep into the building.”

Gaige Hall was built in 1966 and faced a series of infrastructure issues that affected the learning environment, including lack of natural light and poor acoustics. LLB Architects undertook a total reorganization of departments and classrooms, creating integrated collaborative zones throughout the building. A small addition made a large impact by replacing the two-story center section with a three-story connector that features a double height multi-purpose room as well as study lounges that benefit from a fully glazed facade. AIA Rhode Island jury commented, “the full renovation of the Hall addresses the layout in a manner that creates more open, light-filled spaces that encourage a sense of community by providing areas for gathering, group study, and casual meetings.”

LLB received a Citation Award for a new building added to the Moses Brown School campus which serves both the school community and SquashBusters, a sports-based after school youth enrichment program. The main challenge was to site and design a wide footprint building on a tight site that needed to be respectful of its surroundings. LLB created an open viewing area between the 12 squash courts which serves as the heart of this building. It was oriented so that it visually and symbolically connects the two communities that it serves: the school and the larger community. The AIA Rhode Island jury remarked, “the site-ing of the building was clever, with the shifting of the grid. With this shift, the use of the intersecting geometries allowed for keeping the overall footprint as compact as possible, while providing a generous interior open space.”

LLB received a Citation Award for the Weston Art & Innovation Center, a creative conversion of a historic library into an active maker space for the Weston Public Library. The building combines restored historic areas with modern interventions such as the elevator, successfully joining the old and new. The elevator is centrally located at the heart of the building and acts as a hub of activity. Instead of trying to disguise this utilitarian feature, innovative materials allow the elevator to become a modern piece of art within the space, which also serves as a blank canvas. Users of the space can draw on the glass with dry erase markers to create an evolving gallery of art and ideas. AIA Rhode Island jury noted that, “the historic entry hall and reading room were wonderfully restored to their original state, while working from only two historic photos available of the space.”

Photograph by Warren Jagger

Putnam Municipal Building

December 3rd, 2019

The Putnam Municipal Building project consists of three separate entities: the town hall, the public library and the Aspinock Historical Society of Putnam.

LLB worked with each department of the town hall, the library director and the municipal historian to create a building program and schematic design of a well-compacted building. The group favored a reserved two-story building to mitigate excess costs and create greater efficiency. LLB designed a 40,000 square foot building that creates a sense of place and civic pride while connecting the three entities in one building. The building is accessible from both the parking lot and the Town’s green.

US Coast Guard Academy Strength and Conditioning Center Announced

November 18th, 2019

LLB Principals Christian Ladds and Kathleen Bartels, joined colleagues Matt Dempsey and Paul Caton of Site Specific and Jon Metcalf of Metcalf Facilities Group at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Football Game for a half time ceremony announcement of the Emlen Tunnel Strength & Conditioning Center. Watch the flyover video of the new center created by LLB’s designers.

Pictured in photo from left to right: Christian Ladds, Kathleen Bartels, Matt Dempsey, Paul Caton, John Metcalf.

Three of LLB Architects’ Projects Win Rhode Island Monthly Design Awards

October 25th, 2019

Bethany Burns and Enno Fritsch at Rhode Island Monthly Design Awards

LLB Architects has been awarded three 2019 Rhode Island Monthly Design Awards. The Children’s Library at the Cranston Public Library’s Central Branch won Silver in the Commercial Interior Design category. Rhode Island College’s Gaige Hall won Silver in the Commercial Renovation/New Construction category. Lincoln School’s STEAM Hub won Bronze in the Commercial Renovation/New Construction category. Three very different projects, they all demonstrate LLB Architects’ creative approach to renovating existing spaces to incorporate natural light, connect community and foster collaboration.

The Children’s Room at the Cranston Public Library Central Branch was a well-used space by the community, but in need of a renovation after 30 years of active use. LLB Architects worked closely with library staff to develop a plan to revitalize the space and create age appropriate zones. The lively and colorful design features iconic images to inspire children’s imagination. Custom-designed light fixtures feature black and white silhouettes of real-world objects on the sides and colorful, fantasy world images on the bottoms. A hexagon sitting wall provides an intimate and cozy seating for reading. Rhode Island Monthly’s panel of judges commented on the positive feeling of the space and appreciated how the design created “restful spaces among the chaos.”

Lincoln School’s STEAM Hub for Girls created more than 4,000 sq. ft. of additional instruction space for interdisciplinary teaching and learning, along with an art gallery for students and visiting artists. The project transformed existing traditional science classrooms into flexible spaces for group collaboration and project-based learning, while making the facilities more sustainable and resilient. The signature façade features a dramatic glass curtainwall facing the west and 20 vertical fins, or sun shades, spaced in such a way as to create rolling shade as the sun moves. Rhode Island Monthly’s panel of judges commented on the transformation of “classroom spaces into open, airy spaces for learning” and applauded the creation of flexible workspaces.

Rhode Island College’s Gaige Hall was built in 1966 and faced a series of infrastructure issues that affected the learning environment, including lack of natural light and poor acoustics. LLB Architects undertook a total reorganization of departments and classrooms, creating integrated collaborative zones throughout the building. A small addition made a large impact by replacing the two-story center section with a three-story connector that features a double height multi-purpose room as well as study lounges that benefit from a fully glazed facade. Rhode Island Monthly’s panel of judges commented that the renovation “brought the building to a new level” and admired the successful design concept based on simple materials with “windows, walls, ceilings and floors done in the right proportion.”

View all the 2019 award-winning projects on RI Monthly.