Nine recipients of the 2007 AIA/ALA Library Building Awards announced

Contact: Fred Reuland
Marketing Specialist
For Immediate Release
April 17, 2007

Nine recipients of the 2007 AIA/ALA Library Building Awards announced

CHICAGO - The American Institute of Architects (AIA) announced the nine recipients of the 2007 AIA/ALA Library Building Awards. Biennially, representatives from the AIA and the American Library Association (ALA) gather to celebrate the finest examples of library design by architects licensed in the U.S.

The 2007 AIA/ALA Library Building Awards honor nine separate projects, ranging in size from a public elementary school library to a presidential library. All share successful resolution of their patrons’ needs into harmonious and beautiful designs. These awards are administered by the Library Administration and Management Association (LAMA), a division of ALA.

The 2007 jury consisted of Jury Chair Jefferson B. Riley, FAIA, of Centerbrook Architects and Planners, LLC; Edward Dean, AIA of Chong Partners Architecture; Anne M. Larsen of Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners; Wendy Pautz, AIA of LMN Architects; Elizabeth A. Titus, Ph.D. of New Mexico State University Library; and Ken S. Weil of South Huntington Library. The recipients will be recognized at the 2007 annual ALA conference in Washington, D.C., June 22-26.

Robin Hood Foundation Library for P.S. 192, New York City, by Gluckman Mayner Architects

This public elementary school library renovation project is part of a broader philanthropic initiative targeting schools in high poverty neighborhoods. The plan for the interior takes advantage of natural daylight by locating the children's reading areas close to fully-revealed windows, minimizing the need for artificial lighting. Major materials, including bamboo flooring, formaldehyde-free wheat straw board, and recycled plastic were selected for their low environmental impact and low cost. The 2,400-square-foot renovation incorporates sustainable and child-friendly materials as well as custom casework into a bright, playful and inviting space for reading. Jury members said, “With very little, this library now has the power to spark imagination. It also maintains an orderly system for instruction by differentiating spaces within a limited area for a variety of functions. Although small, this project should give much inspiration to its students and, as well, to other similar endeavors in impoverished communities.”

Desert Broom Branch Library for the City of Phoenix, Engineering and Architectural Services Dept., Phoenix, by richärd + bauer architecture

This library is a new, freestanding15,000 square foot LEED certified facility, configured to expand to an ultimate size of 25,000 square feet and capable of holding a collection of over 60,000 pieces. Within the framework of the roof, a series of volumes contain the Meeting Room, Utility core, Staff and Computer Training areas. Additionally, the building houses group study areas, youth/teen spaces, a periodicals living room and staff support spaces. A heavy commitment to computers is found throughout the building with wireless capability. The Jury members said, “The sense of place of this desert library is remarkably achieved by its horizontality, broad panoramic views of the landscape and sky, and integration of interior and exterior. The play on vertical lines and curves animates the spaces within, imbuing them with a sense of an evening breeze blowing through.”

Shunde Library for the City Construction and Development Center of Shunde District, Foshan, China, by P&T Architects and Engineers Ltd

The library, together with a performing art center and two museums form the new cultural centre of Shunde, a fast-growing district of about 1 million in China. Apart from serving the community as a district main library, it houses also the two exhibition halls on its lower floors. The approach was “design without fat” resulting in climatically responsive façades that minimize energy consumption and the turning of functional elements into features, such as the reading booths and staircase. Jury members said, “This Chinese library achieves a subtle, poetic response to its Asian culture, reflecting a global architecture that, nonetheless, maintains a compelling sense of place. The jury was impressed not only by its community centered offerings but also by the quality of its design and execution that equals the best of international architecture.”

Ballard Library and Neighborhood Service Center for the Seattle Public Library, Seattle, by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

This is the first major building designed and built within a new municipal center master plan. Anemometers, monitoring wind speed and direction, are integrated on the roof. This information is coupled with information about light, energy usage, rainfall, and other data and transmitted to LED display panels along the building spines as artwork making microclimatic conditions created by the building visible. Jury members said, “A “green roof” spreads protectively over this library like a tent or a blanket, inviting and beckoning people under it. In this way it states its essential role as community center with peculiar northwest sensibilities. Weather and climate are in touch with the elements that are displayed within, while artistry and craft add to the tangible human scale of this captivating building. This is a true work of art that will endure for ages to come.”

Santa Monica College Library Expansion & Renovation, for Santa Monica College, Santa Monica, CA, by CO Architects

The goal was to modernize and enlarge the existing structure. The addition doubled the size and allowed centralization of the electronic information and technology systems, incorporated a variety of study spaces accommodating different learning styles, and increased book stack capacity. A new front porch was designed for the library. Broad and generous, it affords seats and meeting spaces and unifies the existing building with the new addition. This new porch has become the campus heart – a place to meet, to be seen, to interact, and to learn. The Jury members said, “The architects have transformed an out-dated library into a modern community landmark on a college campus. The receptive spaces, subtle introduction of daylight, artful use of materials, and beautifully crafted details do not diminish the old building but rather improve it.”

David Bishop Skillman Library for Lafayette College, Easton, PA, by Ann Beha Architects

The existing 75,000 SF library with additions of 30,000 SF was completely re-planned and re-conceived as a whole new architectural entity. The renovated facility provides a café, casual reading/information meeting areas, group study rooms, digital project rooms, a gallery, special programs room, instruction rooms, and computer lab, making it the most popular place to be on campus. The new additions were scaled in proportion, height, and width to reflect the fabric of the eclectic buildings surrounding them, knitting together significant campus spaces. “Many colleges are currently facing the daunting challenge of renovating and expanding libraries built in the 1960s and 70s during a pre-technology era focused largely on protecting paper media and providing for private study. Here, the architects transformed such a library into a modern center that reflects a new era of openness and connectivity to its community and the world," said Jury members.

William J. Clinton Presidential Center for the William J. Clinton Foundation, Little Rock, Ark, by Polshek Partnership Architects, LLP

Principal design goals for the library were the creation of an inviting, memorable and inspiring experience, as well as a visually, intellectually and physically accessible space. Clad in glass and metal, the building’s bridge-like form emphasizes connections and is both a reference to Little Rock’s distinctive “Six Bridges” and a metaphor for the progressive goals of the time. In addition to a permanent exhibition hall, spaces include a temporary exhibit gallery, an education and media center, a Great Hall for symposia, dinners and receptions, café and a gift shop. The Jury members said, “Of primary interest to the jury was the seamless integration of a museum with the rigorous requirements of a library. This allows a perimeter of glass walls to delight patrons with sunlight and views, presumably out into the future.”

Fleet Library for the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, R.I., by Office dA

The architects’ challenge was to preserve the historic character of the space yet follow the program necessary to serve the institution, and adhere to rigid new mechanical, safety, and accessibility requirements, all within the project budget. In order to preserve the integrity of the existing historic room and fulfill the new program, the architects designed two freestanding pavilions at either end of the room, providing study spaces, a reading room, and a circulation island. Jury members said, “This restrained architectural intervention into an historic structure is skillfully done while maintaining distinctive contemporary strivings all its own. Beautifully detailed and crafted, its stepped platform, like the Spanish Steps of Rome, adds a welcome sociability lacking in so many other libraries. Beneath it, the private, recessed computer alcoves and work stations have their own allure.”

La Grande Bibliothéque, for the Bibliothéque et Archives nationales du Québec, Montreal, by Patkau / Croft-Pelletier / Menkés Shooner Dagenais Architectes Associés

This public library, the winning entry in an international design competition, consolidates collections dispersed throughout the province to create a resource library for the region and a central public library for the city of Montréal. Four hundred thousand square feet in size, the building contains four major components: a general library, a children’s library, the Collection nationale (historic documents pertaining to Québec) and an assortment of public spaces. Below grade, the library is joined to a major intersection in the Montréal metro system. The Jury members said, “At once urban, human scaled, and extraordinarily open, the building succeeds by its exquisite use of materials and detailing both inside and outside. There is a peaceful, tranquil feel that provides a welcome contrast to its grand urban gesture, masterfully executed. The architects were at the top of their game.”

About the Library Administration and Management Association

The mission of the Library Administration and Management Association ( is to encourage and nurture current and future library leaders, and to develop and promote outstanding leadership and management practices. LAMA is a division of the American Library Association.

About The American Institute of Architects

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