KCI provided MEP design and engineering for the renovation of the historic Julia Ideson Library in Houston, Texas. The Spanish-Renaissance building was originally constructed in 1962, as the city’s main library. Today, the building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and serves as home to the Houston Metropolitan Research Center as well as a venue for exhibits, meetings and special events.
The project was divided into two phases, with the first consisting of the addition of a new wing and outdoor garden space and the second focused on the conservation of the buildings historic interior space. Portions of the facility had to stay in operation at all times, requiring significant planning, plus design accommodation of temporary moves.
Since the library houses special collections, rare books and reference materials not available elsewhere in the city’s library system, a consulting archivist established specific temperature and humidity ranges for each area of the library. This required our team to meet requirements that were set well above typical standards for facilities. KCI’s design used sophisticated equipment and controls to meet these expectations. Additionally, our team met the goals set for minimizing energy use and attaining LEED certification by employing techniques such as energy recovery and desiccant de-humidification. A commission process was used to verify system performance.
The design not only had to meet demanding humidity and temperature requirements, but also had to retain its historic appearance. While many of the existing ceilings, walls and trim could not be revised, the function of some spaces changed and required additional HVAC, power and lighting. Our team was able to overcome this obstacle by implementing 3-D functionality of the BIM model to evaluate routing options for new ducts, pipes and conduits.