2800 Noble Road (1995)


The Noble Road Library


The Noble Road Library, a branch of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Library system, was designed in a Georgian Revival Style by architects Frank Walker and Harry Weeks, considered "Cleveland's premiere classical architects." Their landmark buildings include the Cleveland Public Library, Severance Hall, and the Federal Reserve Bank. St. Paul's Church, St. Ann's, and the Cleveland Municipal Stadium, are also by Walker & Weeks.


In 1994 the Library Board of Trustees undertook a capital improvement project at the Noble Branch to provide 1) access for persons with disabilities, 2) wiring necessary for computer technologies used in today's libraries, and 3) rest room facilities to accommodate persons with disabilities. It is interesting to note that the Library cost $55,000 to build in 1936. An addition in 1963 was $28,000, and the 1994-95 renovations were, at $650,000, more than ten times the cost of the original building.


Georgian Revival characteristics can be seen in the Library's geometric symmetry and emphasis on an elaborate front entrance; the rectangular rooms; repetitive tall double sash windows; and the classical forms of pediment, dentils, moldings, and pilasters (suggested by patterned brickwork). This design conveys a sense of order, serenity, and dignity to the building's public purpose.


A two-story central gable is flanked by identical single-story wings. The central unit has greatest prominence. It rises above the roof line of the wings and projects beyond their walls. The entrance way emphasized by a two-staged design extending upwards into the pediment; it is of wood, painted white, and contrasts with the red brick building materials. Recessed double doors are surmounted by a glass-paned transom. Surrounding woodwork continues to an upper stage six-over-six window, rounded at top, with an elaborate curved crown and pronounced side scrolls. Raised columns of bricks at the sides and soldier-pattern (i.e., upended with the narrow side facing out) brickwork above add further definition to the entrance. A heraldic crest mounted in the pediment appropriately features an open book. It is representative of the horizon this library opens to the neighborhood.


At the rear of the building a new elevator opens outside and to three floors inside. To make room for it necessitated a reconfiguration of staff offices and work areas on the first floor and the staff lounge on the second floor. Various conference and public meeting rooms on the lower level were also renovated in the process. Cosmetic changes include new chandeliers in the lobby that draw attention to the ceiling, the wide crown moldings and the clerestory windows. New oak wainscoting visually connects the lobby to the wings' oak windows and trim. Walls have been painted throughout and custom counters and shelves installed for staff use.


The renovations successfully maintain the architectural integrity and charm of the original library, and at the same time bring facilities and services up to date.