2013 Recipient | AIA/ALA Library Building Awards

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Anacostia Neighborhood Library | Notes of Interest

The small-scale residential context provided the inspiration for the design of this new branch library, located in a low-income, underserved neighborhood in Washington, D.C. The project not only fulfilled programmatic needs but also provided a stimulus for community pride and economic development.

The residential scale is reflected in the library design as a series of pavilions for program areas that require enclosure: the children’s program room, the young adults’ area, support spaces, and public meeting rooms. The remainder of the level one plan is high, open space for the main reading room, stacks, computers, and public seating areas. A large green roof structure provides shelter over all program areas.

Community input was also a key part of the design process. Users made it clear they wanted an open, welcoming building. The large front plaza invites pedestrians to come in, and the floor-to-ceiling glass on all sides provides passersby a clear view into the building. The building and site work together as a classroom for sustainable features and education about ecological systems, including a rain garden. The project received LEED® Gold certification.

Additional Credit

  • Architect – Associate: R. McGhee & Associates
  • Architect – Landscape: Lappas & Havener
  • Engineer – Civil: Delon Hampton & Associates
  • Engineer – MEP: Setty & Associates
  • Engineer – Structural: Stewart Engineering
  • Lighting Design: Horton Lees Brogden
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Photo Credit

  • © Mark Herboth Photography

Anacostia Neighborhood Library

Jury Comments

This project is very successful in the way it weaves interior and exterior spaces together, creates a clear central volume for the reading room, and expresses a pleasing, varied massing.

The light, airy design responds to the site and the community, and the restrained use of saturated colors creates a visually interesting building without overwhelming the senses.

2013 AIA/ALA Library Building Awards Jury

  • Jeanne M. Jackson, FAIA, Chair
  • VCBO Architecture
  • Salt Lake City
  • John R. Dale, FAIA
  • Harley Ellis Devereaux
  • Los Angeles
  • Charles Forrest
  • Emory University Libraries
  • Atlanta
  • Kathleen Imhoff
  • Lexington, Kentucky
  • J. Stuart Pettitt, AIA
  • Straub Pettitt Yaste
  • Clawson, Michigan
  • John F. Szabo
  • Los Angeles Public Library
  • Los Angeles

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