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April 11, 2022
The new 20,000-square-foot Ledding Library in Milwaukie, Oregon, is located at the edge of downtown, between a wetland natural area, a city park and City Hall.
The design aims to create a civic presence for the library, while taking advantage of the natural setting.
The original library opened in 1962 and occupied the donated, former home of Florence Olsen Ledding. Three additions were added to the original house creating structural and utility complexities, and challenges for accessibility, operations and flexibility. The decision to build new on the existing site took advantage of the site’s strongest attribute: its adjacency to a scenic wetland pond and tributary to the Willamette River.
Large windows along the eastern facade, shaded by large oaks, align with seating areas for reading with direct views out to the trees and pond. Thermal gain is controlled on the western facade with narrower windows and a broad entry canopy, providing afternoon shade.
Extensive use of wood on both the exterior and interior help to blend the library with its surroundings. The interior open library wraps around staff spaces, a large community room, small meeting spaces and building services. The undulating ceiling takes inspiration from the flow of water.
The library has a highly efficient hydronic radiant slab mechanical system for heating and cooling. A roof-mounted, 40,000-watt solar array further offsets energy use. The library’s tight thermal envelope makes the building 2030 Challenge-compliant.
The project has received a Northwest + Pacific Region Merit Award from the American Institute of Architects and an IIDA Oregon Chapter Design Excellence Award Honorable Mention (Public and Civic).
Owner: City of Milwaukie
Architecture and interiors: Hacker Architects (http://www.hackerarchitects.com)
Structural engineer: ABHT Structural Engineers
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