Project DescriptionFROM THE ARCHITECTS:
Expanding from a single-room Carnegie branch library that had served Stapleton, Staten Island, for a century, this project has created a new 12,000-square-foot library that better serves the community. Open, inviting, and accessible, the project stitches together new and old buildings, and provides equal space for tactile and digital learning opportunities.
The project hinged on the renovation of the existing building and expansion into an adjacent 7,000-square-foot lot. Working with the sloping grade, the design team sited the building so that the new entrance is at grade level and can be accessed without climbing steps. Restored to its original design, the existing Carnegie library now houses the children’s area, while the expansion on the other side of a transparent community room contains teen and adult reading areas and research facilities.
The library’s exposed-wood structure provides rhythm and richness, while the glazed façade supplies natural light and invites participation. Additional natural light comes courtesy of multiple framed skylights, and the variegated surfaces of the roof and façade diffuse and deflect sound waves to soften the acoustics of the open plan.
In addition to rehabilitating and repurposing the Carnegie library—which is conveniently adjacent multiple public transportation routes—the team employed sustainable strategies throughout the project. All roof and site water runoff is collected in a subterranean holding tank and later released into the municipal wastewater management system. Glue-laminated timber used in the exposed structure speaks to the casework and shelving found in the Carnegie library, its prefabrication reducing waste materials and streamlining construction.