- by Steven Holl
Located on a prominent site along the East River, the design for the 21,000 square foot Queens Library at Hunters Point takes inspiration from the views of Manhattan and Roosevelt Island.
Glazed cuts in the recycled foamed aluminum facade allow users to great views toward the city as they move up a series of perimeter stairs. The program’s separation into children’s area, teen area and adult area, can be read in the carved cuts of the east face of the building, one façade opening for each area.
Yet the programmatic divisions are fluid. The building section of the new library is open and flowing, while the plan is compact, allowing for the most energy-efficient design and the greatest amount of public space on the site.
Along the west is an elongated reflecting pond of recycled water, which is edged in the natural grasses that once grew at the bank of the East River. Frogs, turtles, and fish inhabit this year-round natural water strip. On the east entrance side , the library together with a low park office pavilion forms a public reading garden with a bosque of ginko trees. Ascending the stair inside one can reach the rooftop reading garden with panoramic views.
At night the glowing presence of the new library along the waterfront joins the Pepsi sign and the «Long Island» sign at the old Gantry to become a beacon and icon for this new community place.
The fabric-formed concrete structure is exposed and painted white inside, while exterior insulation and a foamed aluminum rainskin give the exterior a subtle sparkle and glow, without being overly reflectant.
architect: Steven Holl | team: Rychiee Espinosa, Jeanne Wellinger | co-author: Chris McVoy | status: Competition (2010) Project Construction (2010 - 2014) | clasification: 1 rang | engineer: Robert Silman Associates, ICOR Associates | visualizer: Studio | scale: 1.000 m2 medium | types: education, library | views: 1.720