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04.30.2010
Open> Library
Benning Library by Davis Brody Bond Aedas
Courtesy DBBA

Benning Library
3935 Benning Road N.E.
Washington, D.C.
Tel: 202-281-2583
Designer: Davis Brody Bond Aedas

Located in southeast Washington, D.C., the 22,000-square-foot Benning Library is the first to be completed among the D.C. Public Library’s $225 million series of nine new libraries and seven renovations. Designed by Davis Brody Bond Aedas (DBBA), which is also completing a second library for the system, the copper-clad structure is terraced into the terrain, allowing access on both upper and lower levels. Extensive clerestory windows and a glass wall along the grand staircase maximize daylighting,while under an exposed ceiling, 22 feet at its highest, patrons enjoy translucent book panels, red Eames LCW chairs, slabs of pastel-colored IceStone, and a colorful mural painted by children from the area. “We wanted this library to work with the landscape and bring the community together,” said DBBA principal Peter Cook, who worked with late partner Max Bond on the project. The $12 million facility is designed to achieve LEED Silver, incorporating a green roof, displacement air system, and extensive use of renewable materials. An equally noteworthy feature, however, is the structure’s copper shell, comprised of 315 panels that will become greener over time––just as the roof on top.


The copper-clad structure is set on a sloping site, allowing access from either level.
 

The lower level is adjacent to a shopping center where local residents gather, so community facilities are located on this level, with library services on top.
 

Colorful furnishings enliven the children's area.
 
Rebecka Gordan