Commissioned to create a new library in the Bronx, Snøhetta has drawn inspiration from the New York City borough’s relative abundance of trees and park space to design an eye-catching building that will sport a green exterior and significant sustainability features, including solar power and rainwater collection.
The Westchester Square Library is being designed in collaboration with the New York City Department of Design and Construction, and will consist of a concrete base, which will support a glazed box section above. This will be finished in fritted glass that depicts abstract views of trees and allows the daylight to pleasantly permeate within. At night it will glow like a beacon, says Snøhetta.
The building’s interior will measure 12,000 sq ft (1,114 sq m), spread over two floors. It will host two classrooms, a pair of reading rooms, a multi-use community space, restrooms, and research rooms. The spaces will be arranged according to the need for natural light and views, with the library’s more social areas on display from the sidewalk and a nearby elevated train track.
“The classroom and community room spaces look out over a new Viewing Garden located at street level that doubles as a water retention and filtration installation,” said Snøhetta. “Filled with shade-loving perennial groundcovers and flowering ornamental trees, the Library Viewing Garden offers a sense of visual delight connecting the abstract facade patterning with the Library’s environmental performance.”
Snøhetta is aiming for LEED Platinum (a green building standard) certification and, in addition to the focus on natural light and water, the library will feature a well-insulated structure. It will be topped by a solar array to reduce grid-based electricity requirements, plus energy efficient ventilation systems will be installed.
Construction on the Westchester Square Library is expected to begin by late-2023 and follows other notable libraries by the high-profile Norwegian firm, including the stunning Calgary Central Library, while work is underway on its similarly tree-inspired Beijing Sub-Center Library.
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