The 8,700 SF Pico Branch Library extracts every opportunity to engage with its active park setting to encourage use of an educational resource in a neighborhood with a stubborn achievement gap. To that end the library was conceived as a community living room rather than quiet retreat. Its design and location were driven by the local community who enthusiastically participated in a series of public design and programming workshops.
The library is located in the center of the park and splices on to the blank façade of an existing building to activate the event plaza. On Saturdays the front door of the library bumps into the edge of the Farmers Market causing a resonance that energized the community, and around which, the librarians develop programs about food and health. Constrained to the east by playing fields the building jumps the firelane to the west to include a needed community room.
The move, initiated by necessity, creates more opportunities for engagement: the community room and small amphitheater forge a link to the existing Park Center while the photovoltaic canopy spanning the firelane offsets the carbon footprint while it enhances the walkability of this important pedestrian path that links program space (serving teens, children, job seekers and seniors) and divided neighborhoods north and south of the park.
Visibility inside and out is key to connecting the library to its setting and is achieved with expansive areas of glass shaded by deep overhangs and awnings. Inside, oversized north facing skylights and a sculpted ceiling amplify the light while minimizing exterior reflection. This integrated design approach to daylight harvesting generated the architectural identity of the building and contributes to a LEED Platinum certification.
Material Used :
- Pyrok, Interface, Carpet, Custom Steel & Glass Glazing Assembly Glazer, Custom Steel & Glass Glazing Assembly Steel, Single Ply Thermoplastic Roofing, Steel Fabrication/Installer, Wood Framer