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Sterling Library Transforms 1980s Shopping Center

Sterling, Virginia


Loudoun County Public Library


15,000 sf


Interior Fit-Out

How do you insert a new 15,000 sf library into a 20 year old shopping center that has seen better days? Very carefully and creatively! Loudoun County leased three abandoned storefronts to convert into a new community library. The constraints of the lease and budget limitations rendered this an interior-only exercise. Active spaces adjacent to the long ribbon of storefront invite visitors into the library and add vibrancy to the shopping center.

Reading Beans

Parents and care-givers can read, study, meet or chill while their children enjoy the “jelly bean” cut-outs in the children’s area. Interiors are brought to life with vibrant colors, daylighting and flexible furnishings that support a variety of activities – from festive to reflective.

Huddle Pods

As you enter, the zone to the left is a teen area. With computers, anime, gaming screens, and fun furniture - this area lets teens do their thing. A movable glass separates the teens from the rest of the library when things get loud and activities start to buzz.

Grimm + Parker was dedicated to ensuring that the project surpassed the expectations of both Loudoun County Public Library and the community of Sterling.

Director, Loudoun County Public Library

Bring In The Light

One of the greatest design challenges was adding natural light to the 90’ deep space where the existing exterior storefront windows offered the only natural light. Skylights were strategically carved into the existing roof to pour in sunlight and draw visitors into the space. Along the path are computers, a maker space, spaces for business incubation, tutoring rooms, and conference rooms and community rooms.

A Place For All Ages

By day, the library is filled with laughter, delight, and daylight as people enjoy the amenities offered. The new library has helped to transform an older, “has-been” shopping center into a new, hip place to hang out and engage, to see and be seen, with neighbors and friends!

Closing Thoughts

The entire space is designed to be flexible and transformable. It's a story of renewal and repurpose; a second life for a shopping center to become an energetic community node. 


Citation Award

AIA Maryland

Merit Award

AIA Potomac Valley

Interior Design Award

Signatures of Loudoun Design Excellence

Student's Choice Award

Signatures of Loudoun Design Excellence

Juror's Special Citation in Commercial Interiors

AIA Northern Virginia

Merit Award

AIA Central Virginia