On the Books

WORKac to design Brooklyn Public Library’s first new branch in 35 years

Architecture East News
WORKac is teaming up with the Brooklyn Public Library to design its first new branch in 35 years. Shown here: Interior of Kew Gardens Hills Library in Queens by WORKac (Bruce Damonte)
WORKac is teaming up with the Brooklyn Public Library to design its first new branch in 35 years. Shown here: Interior of Kew Gardens Hills Library in Queens by WORKac (Bruce Damonte)

For the first time in 35 years, the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) is building a new branch dedicated to serving the communities in DUMBO, Vinegar Hill, and the Farragut Houses. With a design by New York firm WORKac, the library is set to become the 60th branch in the system.

So far, no design details have been announced, but WORKac will begin an extensive community engagement process this fall to determine the main design priorities for local residents. It will be located at 135 Plymouth Street—just underneath the Manhattan Bridge inside Alloy Development’s One John Street residential complex—and will feature 6,500 square feet of space for flexible programming, book lending services, and desks for working.

The project is part of BPL’s major effort to update aging infrastructure in one-third of its branches over the next five years. Thirteen libraries will undergo full-scale renovations while three libraries (Brooklyn Heights Library, Greenpoint Library, and Sunset Park Library) will be entirely reconstructed. The newest branch in DUMBO is expected to be completed by 2020, with an estimated construction start in mid-2019.  

WORKac has a long history of working on public projects with the City of New York, including libraries, schools, and historic retrofits. The firm finished the much-anticipated renovation and expansion of the Kew Gardens Hills Library in Queens last fall, bringing structural upgrades, a bright new interior, and an elongated green roof to the 10,000 square-foot space. In addition, WORKac designed the inaugural Edible Schoolyard for P.S. 216 in Brooklyn as well as the more recently-completed second schoolyard at P.S. 7 in East Harlem.

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