Lewis Walpole Library
Farmington, CT 2008
  • Centerbrook Architects and Planners
  • Esto
  • Stimson

The Lewis Walpole Library is a research library for eighteenth century studies and the prime source for the study of Horace Walpole and his world. As a department of the Yale University Library, it contains a significant collection of books, manuscripts, prints, drawings, and paintings housed in a historic frame house in Farmington, Connecticut. The Library engaged in a major building renovation and barn addition that provides a new reading room, classroom, office space and gallery. The landscape plan integrates the new building programs, gardens, parking, circulation and drainage into the rural and historic context. The farmhouse character of the house and barn is reinforced by a simple landscape of straight paths, trees planted in orchard form and long rows of shrubs. A vegetated retention basin on the side of the barn captures roof and site runoff in a low-tech manner appropriate to the setting. Two large shade trees are protected and incorporated into parking areas by the use of permeable gravel paving that minimized root zone excavation during construction.