A community meeting was held last month to discuss the design of the new SW Branch library on Wesley Place. The sketch design of the new library by Perkins + Will gives a nod to mid-century modern architecture. Glass is used on the façade to give the library an open feeling and the roofline is angular, somewhat mimicking nearby United Methodist Church. On the north side of the library facing the playground, a “front porch” will be created with rocking chairs. The entrance to the library will shift from its current location on the west side to the northwest corner and will be double-height.
As currently proposed, the new library will be about the same size as the current one (18,000 – 19,000 SF), but more of the space will be dedicated to public uses (81% in the new library vs. 66% in the current library). The first floor will contain the entrance and circulation desk, as well as children’s services, a multipurpose room, staff space and restrooms. On the second floor, space will be reserved for adult/teen services, meeting rooms, staff space and more restrooms. Unlike the current library, the new library will not have a basement level primarily due to flooding concerns and construction costs. There will be space inside the library set aside to highlight Southwest heritage as well as the creation of a “wow” factor, perhaps by the staircase. Other design elements include sanctuary spaces, the creation of curiosity and stimulation, as well as making the library’s flow intuitive for visitors.
A total of $18 million has been set aside to build the new library and create an interim space during construction. By next summer, the interim library will be open and construction on the new library will commence, which is expected to last about 18 months. That timing places completion of the new library in early 2020.
Renderings courtesy of Perkins + Will