For some people, the library is a place of solitude. A venue where one can be totally alone with their thoughts and free from the presence of other people. Because of this, some libraries get associated with isolation and withdrawal. Maybe due to the fortress-like design some libraries have. The DCPL Southwest Neighborhood Library by Perkins&Will is a different story though.
Built using dowel laminated timber (DLT), the DCPL has a mid-century modern look. This complements the neighborhood that houses bold, geometric forms. Combining aesthetics, sustainability, and efficiency, the new Southwest Library’s concept focuses on being a “pavilion in the park”. With its biophilic design, the library has a notable roof that evokes a design similar to an open book. From a distance, it opens towards the park and also works as a sheltering canopy like the trees outside. V-shaped wooden columns outside add to the building’s warmth and add a hint of elegance to the design. This exterior also captures diffused northern daylight, maximizing visibility and optimizing energy conservation. With the sunshades, visitors inside are also sheltered from too much sun throughout the day.
This warmth isn’t exclusive to the exterior design. Even inside, visitors can still see beautiful views. Expansive windows allow more than 90 percent of the interior access to these views.
A Sustainable Public Space
The DCPL library uses environmentally sensitive energy and water conservation practices. With adaptable technology, visitors also have more access to their needs in the library’s gathering spaces. As a welcoming place, the library also has an expanded meeting place for everyone. This meeting room can accommodate 100 people and is also accompanied by smaller meeting rooms that can hold up to 20 people.
Aside from lessons on community, the DCPL library can also teach more people about sustainability. Its structure itself is already a great example of the topic, after all.
Photos by James Steinkamp Photography