Project DescriptionFROM THE AIA:
The New Mission Branch Library is located at the site of the former Mission Drive-in Theater, just north of the historic Mission San Jose and less than one block west of Mission County Park and the historic Mission Reach of the San Antonio Riverwalk. The new library resides in the heart of this underserved south-side neighborhood. Since its opening, the library has been a catalyst and model for new development along the newly formed Roosevelt Avenue Corridor district.
The library is a single story building with a 30foot tall reading room and a shed roof that is covered with locally made barrel vaulted clay tiles. Visitors enter the new library through a pair of oversized copper clad doors embossed with a decorative pattern pulled from Mission San Jose. The L-shaped lobby is capped by three brick bovedas which are cross vaults built without centering by local craftsmen. The interior brick bovedas are mirrored on the exterior roof of the lobby volume with stucco clad vaults each with a skylight illuminating the lobby space below. The floor is covered in locally made patterned cement encaustic tile known as Mission Tile.
The library reading room opens to a wall of widows along the south that look out to the south courtyard garden and Mission San Jose beyond. The windows are punctuated by full height San Saba sandstone fins that support a deep roof overhang which shades the south facing glass. The main reading room leads to a north courtyard garden that is enclosed by a 10-foot high, white stucco wall fitted with eight pivoting decorative iron filigree panels, each eight-feet by eight-feet and fabricated by local metalworkers and allow the courtyard to be opened to the adjacent park. All of the building’s material decisions are drawn from work produced in the area for generations by local craftsmen and speak to the cultural richness of this historic community.
The New Mission Library was designed and built to LEED Silver Certification standards. All efforts were made to insure that the Library is a good steward of the environment and that the new library sets an example for future development in the area. The library uses a displacement ventilation design for its HVAC system, the first library in the State of Texas to do so. As part of the overall energy reduction strategy, this system greatly reduces the energy required to cool and move the air within the building and provides an ultra-quiet environment as it produces negligible noise being emitted from the HVAC systems.