Located on an Ocean Avenue corner lot, the design consists of a main reading room, children’s reading room, community room, staff support space and an outdoor garden. Adhering to the urban grid, the L-shaped scheme allows the main reading room and community room volumes to flank and define a central courtyard. The exterior has two major architectural elements: an egg-shaped room and the high canopy roof.
The most striking element of the front façade, positioned prominently at the corner, is an egg-shaped children’s reading room with a large, bench-seat window that puts its user’s activities on display and encourages use of the library by younger patrons. The children’s room is capped by a high canopy roof, extending over the entry and the lower community room volume along Ocean Avenue. This roof strengthens the civic presence of the one-story structure, given the context of taller adjacent buildings. Its sky-blue underside is up-lit, providing unobtrusive security lighting to the entry and sidewalk below, while the height of the canopy is designed to optimize future photovoltaic panels.
Inside, the spaces are designed to fuse historic interpretations of libraries as “temples of knowledge” with more common associations of books with the marketplace popularized by Borders and the like. In the main reading room, floor to ceiling books line the walls; regular circulation fills the lower shelves, while shelving above seven feet are filled with old books and artifacts donated by members of the community. The sloped ceiling of the space is capped with giant skylights coaxing sunlight deep into the room. Facing the courtyard, mahogany-clad carrels offer quite, intimate spaces to read and relax. Benches are built into the glass edges creating a simple and elegant relationship between courtyard and interior spaces.
Most importantly, this new branch library facilitates a central gathering space and enhances access to important resources for the neighborhood, while playing an essential role in the revitalization of Ocean Avenue. The robust, light-filled, and sustainable architectural design highlights the virtues and aspirations of this community: valuing the accessibility of knowledge and education to everyone.
Visit the Fougeron Architecture website – here.
Visit the Group 4 Architecture website – here.
Photography by Joe Fletcher