April 2010


9 Van Doren St, Plainsboro, NJ


Township of Plainsboro

The Township of Plainsboro, New Jersey has a diverse and rapidly increasing population. As part of its planning for future growth, local planners resolved to build a Town Center based on New Urbanist principles, including a denser mix of residential and commercial development, concentrated around a pedestrian-friendly town green. After weighing the option of an addition to its existing library building, the Town, Library and BKSK resolved to build a new 46,500 square foot building as a civic anchor for the new Center. By carefully considering the future scale and massing of the Center, BKSK shaped the proposed design of the Town Green at the Center’s heart.

Working in concert with its surroundings, the exterior architecture affirms the Library’s prominent position at the head of the Green. Meanwhile, its interior spaces are designed to reflect the Library’s ambitious program of services in a way that celebrates the energy and diversity of the community. More than just a repository of books and periodicals, the Library program includes an internet café, a children’s science center, a gallery for showcasing local art, and a multi-purpose community room, fully embracing the civic role a modern library can play. Its central Reading Room now functions as the heart of a vibrant community, its light-filled space an extension of a well-used Town Green.


AIA Westchester+Hudson Valley, High Honor Award for Design Excellence, 2011


“Annual Library Design Showcase,” American Libraries, April 2011

“Building Type Study – Libraries,” Architectural Record (online), February 2011

“The Year in Architecture,” Library Journal (print & online), December 2010

“BKSK designs detailed Plainsboro Library,” Interior Design Magazine Daily Fix Blog, November 2010

“Plainsboro all a-tingle over new library,” New Jersey Times (print and online), April 2010

Virginia Baeckler, former Director of Plainsboro Library; Plainsboro Residents; Spiegel Consultants – client rep; Harrison-Hamnett – structural; ADS Engineers – MEP; CME Associates – civil; Poulin & Morris – graphics ; H.M. White Site Architects – landscape; Kugler Associates – lighting design; James Gainfort – exterior envelop; Shen Milsom & Wilke – acoustics

Photos by Jeffrey Totaro and Vanni Archive

"BKSK really understood us as a community facility—all the layers, all the programming, and how it might work together as a whole. They listened and translated our library’s functions into wonderful architecture."

Virginia Baeckler, former Plainsboro Library Director