As cities across the country struggle to bring new life to aging athenaeums and cash-strapped local libraries, the AIA has honored six outstanding examples of library design in this year’s AIA/ALA Library Building Awards. In the past we have seen a Walmart transformed into a library, a controversial starchitect renovation in New York, and an interactive, LED light-show—now take a look at these honored projects. From democratic design in the nation’s capital to a stunning Beaux-Arts restoration in St. Louis and high-tech solutions in North Carolina, this year's winning projects present a range of answers to the challenges facing our fading repositories. The jury for the biannual award included Jeanne M. Jackson, FAIA, Chair, VCBO Architecture; John R. Dale, FAIA, Harley Ellis Devereaux; Charles Forrest, Emory University Libraries; Kathleen Imhoff, Library Consultant; J. Stuart Pettitt, AIA, Straub Pettitt Yaste and John F. Szabo, Los Angeles Public Library. Anacostia Neighborhood Library Washington, D.C. The Freelon Group From the AIA: The small-scale residential context provided the inspiration for the design of this new branch library, located in a low-income, underserved neighborhood in Washington, D.C. The project not only fulfilled programmatic needs but also provided a stimulus for community pride and economic development. The residential scale is reflected in the library design as a series of pavilions for program areas that require enclosure: the children’s program room, the young adults’ area, support spaces, and public meeting rooms. The remainder of the level one plan is high, open space for the main reading room, stacks, computers, and public seating areas. A large green roof structure provides shelter over all program areas. Central Library Renovation St. Louis Cannon Design From the AIA: Cass Gilbert’s grand Beaux-Arts library, now 100 years old and a St. Louis cultural landmark, was in need of a transformative restoration that would increase public access and modernize it for the 21st century. On the interior, the centrally located Great Hall is surrounded by five wings, four dedicated to public reading rooms and the fifth, the north wing, to a multistory book depository closed to the public. The transformation of the north wing truly rejuvenated the library and brought it into the next century. Old book stacks were removed, and a new “building within a building” was inserted. Now, a multistory public atrium provides an accessible and welcoming entry. The new “floating platforms” surround the atrium without touching existing interior walls. Glass-enclosed upper levels house the collection with compact high-density bookshelves. The windows of the north wall, now clear glass, bounce natural light deep into the interior and provide striking views. New York Public Library, Hamilton Grange Teen Center New York City Rice + Libpka Architects From the AIA: The center, located on the previously empty third-floor space of Harlem’s Hamilton Grange branch library, designed by McKim, Mead and White, is NYPL’s first full-floor space dedicated to teens. In an effort to attract and engage neighborhood youth, the 4,400-square-foot space challenges the norms of library design. The light-filled floor is divided into specific zones that foster small-group interaction and socialization. Visibility is maintained across the entire floor. Two programmatic elements—a 20-foot-diameter Media Vitrine and a bamboo bleacher—occupy the center of the space and work to define the seven zones between and around them. The vitrine’s open-top glass enclosure upends the notion that multimedia spaces must be dark, hyperisolated rooms. The bleacher allows views out to the street from the existing high south-facing windows and provides a sunny hang-out for a range of group sizes. Custom L-shaped lounge benches bracket this space and can be rolled away to allow for other uses and activities. James B. Hunt Library Raleigh, North Carolina Snøhetta and Pear Brinkley Cease + Lee From the AIA: An $11 million reduction in the budget for this library during the schematic design phase prompted the design, construction, and client teams to formulate a range of new ideas to maintain functionality and quality. The building would need to be highly programmed and reasonably versatile as well as comfortable and stimulating to visitors. One innovation was the introduction of an automated book delivery system (ABDS), which effectively reduced the total area of the building by 200,000 gross square feet and allowed more space for collaboration and technology. The ABDS is supported by user-friendly browsing software that matches and even enhances the traditional pleasure of browsing a collection. Oak Forest Neighborhood Library Houston NAAA + AWI + JRA From the AIA: This 7,600-square-foot modern brick and glass structure opened in 1961. Fifty years later, there was still great nostalgia for the library’s mid-century modern design, but the building no longer met the standards of the Houston Public Library system or the needs of the surrounding neighborhood. The 2011 renovations and additions respect the character of the existing library and enhance its accessibility and functionality. The original building’s restored signature green tile mosaic still graces the parking entry area on the north, but now the neighborhood is welcomed by a tree-shaded second entry and outdoor reading room framed by new dedicated adult and teen areas on the west. The original tile mosaic and globe light canopy of the old circulation desk were restored to create a toddler-sized reading nook. Each age group—from toddlers through teens and adults—now has appropriate facilities, furnishings, and technology. A new lobby and circulation space, lit by a continuous shaded clerestory, occupies the seam between old and new and unites the two entries. South Mountain Community Library Phoenix richärd+brauer From the AIA: The building integrates the varied uses of a contemporary public library with the needs of a state-of-the-art central campus library, allowing each to function both independently and collaboratively. The design is modeled after that of an integrated circuit, providing insulation between disparate functions and promoting interaction and connection between like functions and spaces. The simple massing of the building is attenuated to focus views on the surrounding mountains and provide shade and transparency. The site was once home to fertile agricultural valleys and citrus groves, and the building consciously merges interior and exterior spaces to connect to the area’s rich history. A series of rooftop monitors and light shafts flood natural light into the first-level core. The rain screen, formed of bent planks of copper, calls to mind the pattern of an abstracted bar code. Variegated cedar strips reinforce the digital aesthetic of the building. Further echoing the design of a circuit board, building systems are organized and expressed within an internally lit independent distribution soffit.
Posts tagged with "Phoenix":
Phoenix-based developer Novawest wanted a new signature project for the city's downtown, an observation tower from which to admire the far-off mountain ranges and dramatic Southwestern sunsets, so Bjarke Ingels proposed to scoop out the spiraled negative-space of New York's Guggenheim Museum rotunda and plant it 420 feet above downtown Phoenix. Ingels' "Pin," a 70,000 square foot observation tower is elegant in its simple form, a ball on a stick, indeed evoking some far away Gulliver on a real-life version of Google maps finding his way to the Sun Belt. In another light, Phoenicians could ostensibly see a larger-than-life Chupa Chup or an upended mascara brush, but that's the beauty of pure form, right? Visitors will be able to ride one of three glass elevators up the reinforced concrete core to the top of the Pin's observation spiral, where flexible exhibition, retail, and recreation spaces will showcase panoramic views of the surrounding region and descend, round and round, to a restaurant in the lower portions of the sphere. "Like the monsoons, the haboobs, and the mountains of the surrounding Arizonian landscape, the Pin becomes a point of reference and a mechanism to set the landscape in motion through the movement of the spectator." Bjarke Ingels, principal at BIG, said in a statement. "Like the Guggenheim Museum of New York offers visitors a unique art experience descending around its central void, the motion at the Pin is turned inside-out allowing visitors to contemplate the surrounding city and landscape of Phoenix. Like a heavenly body hovering above the city, the Pin will allow visitors to descend from pole to pole in a dynamic three dimensional experience seemingly suspended in midair."
After an anonymous buyer stepped in to save a threatened Frank Lloyd Wright house in Phoenix, it appears that the future the David & Gladys Wright House is not so sunny after all. AN previously noted that an anonymous buyer was throwing the iconic home a $2.4 million cash life line to save it from demolition, the real estate broker announced this week that the home would be placed back on the market after the purchase agreement fell through. The buyer cited “personal and business” reasons for rescinding the offer, according to The Phoenix Business Journal. After much urging and a petition by the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, the Phoenix City Council will vote on December 4 on whether or not to designate the home as a historic landmark, thus preventing its demolition. The house, built in 1952, is considered by some to be an architectural foreshadowing to the continuous circular movements seen in the spirals of Wright's Guggenheim Museum.
Great news! Frank Lloyd Wright's David & Gladys Wright house in Phoenix won't be reduced to rubble as developers had hoped. The house, designed for FLW's son David in 1952, had been threatened with demolition earlier this year, but an anonymous buyer ponied up nearly $2.4 million to save the house. The previous owner, developer 8081 Meridian, had proposed tearing down the house and building two new houses on the property. The spiral-planned, textile block home is one of Wright's most unusual designs, with an amazing spiral ramp that leads into and lifts the house above the desert. Check out the video walk-through of the home above or a photo slideshow over here. Way to go, anonymous!
Just a couple months ago, a house by Frank Lloyd Wright's son Lloyd—the Moore House—was destroyed in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. AN called its loss the "archi-crime of the year," but now developers in Phoenix, Arizona could one-up the razing with the demolition of an original Frank Lloyd Wright designed for another of his sons, David. The threatened David Wright House is a spiral-planned textile block masterpiece that predates the Guggenheim (the most famous Wright spiral), and an effort is underway to save the property. A petition from the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy urges the City of Phoenix to designate the structure as a historic landmark, preventing its destruction. According to the conservancy, no Wright house has been willingly destroyed in nearly 40 years. At press time, just under 800 names are still needed on the petition to reach its goal of 5,000 names. The conservancy has already helped the house receive a temporary stay of demolition while the city desides what to do, but time is running out. You can sign on with your support here. According to the FLLW Building Conservancy, developers hope to demolish the home as soon as possible and build two luxury mansions on the site. You can stay up to date with the preservation process and read more about the conservancy's efforts on their website. [h/t ArchDaily]
According to a story in Governing Magazine, while LA is only dreaming of building its freeway cap parks, several US cities are either planning or have completed their own. Dallas' 5.2-acre park over its Woodall Rodgers Freeway downtown will be done by 2012. Other cities that have completed decked freeway parks include Boston (the Big Dig of course!), Phoenix, Seattle, Trenton, N.J., and Duluth, Minnesota. And besides LA Cincinnati and St. Louis are also proposing deck parks. While quite expensive, the article points out, the parks help knit cities back together, provide valuable civic space, are built on free land, and send adjacent property values skyrocketing. In short: Let's Do This People!! Pix of more parks can be seen here: