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Architecture & Engineering

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May 24, 2013

Newcastle Library

Photo by Benjamin Benschneider [enlarge]
Glass walls help enliven the street.

Location: Newcastle


Agency/owner: King County Library System

General contractor: Synergy Contractors

Newcastle Library is composed of three primary flexible architectural components: the Gathering Porch, Reading Room and Brick Block.

The Gathering Porch is a welcoming outdoor plaza with flexible places to read or gather to chat with friends. The Reading Room is a grand, light-filled space with a unique daylight-filtering pattern on the glass that symbolizes the human brainwave. The Brick Block contains a series of more contained spaces, including work rooms, study rooms, a multipurpose room and the “sunset perch” — a special reading area for kids that has orange-tinted glass.

The library’s sustainable elements include a geothermal heat exchange system, operable sun shading and high-performance glazing with passive natural ventilation. Careful attention was paid to material selection and only regional, recycled, healthy products were used. In addition, the library contains a 7,500-square-foot vegetative roof that helps to reduce runoff contaminants, as well as deflect solar radiation to help insulate and cool the building.

Jury comment: “This project has a great public outdoor space that is activated and playful, as well as a lot of fun moments within the library. This project does a lot to enliven the street and its design is grand enough to be an important building for the community.”

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