Library design is forward-thinking by nature, yet the idea of the library—as a gateway to learning, a public space open to all, a place to find what you’re looking for—is iconic. Today’s public libraries are re-imagining services, space, collections, and programming in ways that engage communities and celebrate creativity. Their design reflects a changing reality, yet also needs to stand the test of time. LJ’s New Landmark Libraries initiative identifies the top new libraries to look at for ideas and inspiration. The 2015 New Landmark Libraries will focus on public libraries that have completed new construction, expansion, or significant renovation within the last four years (2010–2014). We are accepting submissions now through March 31.
After a successful launch of the inaugural New Landmark Libraries (NLL) in 2011 focusing on public libraries, LJ is proud to present its second list of iconic NLL buildings. This time the spotlight is on academic libraries. Our five NLLs, plus two honorable mentions, will inspire and inform any building project.
New Landmark Libraries 2012 #4: South Mountain Community Library, Maricopa County Community College District/Phoenix Public Library
Materials and finishes engender a sense of lightness and fun. Playful, inventive, and, sometimes, surprising, the designs turned straightforward materials, like copper, wood, glass, steel, aluminum, and acrylic, into anything but ordinary. Digitally printed skylight liners, laser-cut guardrails, and water jet–cut aluminum panels provide endless interest.
Columbia University’s new Science and Engineering Library (SEL) is the latest take on how libraries support science research and learning. Housed in a new state-of-the-art high-rise interdisciplinary laboratory building built over an existing ground-level gymnasium, this project required no additional footprint to accomplish its space goals.
What features make the best academic library buildings? Public libraries can offer design ideas, but some academic librarians will write them off thinking they have nothing to offer.