adjaye associates: two libraries for washington DC
jul 31, 2012
adjaye associates: two libraries for washington DC

‘francis gregory neighborhood library’ by adjaye associates, washington DC
image © edmund sumner
all images courtesy of adjaye associates

both the ‘francis gregory neighborhood library’ and the ‘william o. lockridge/bellevue library’ by london-based adjaye associates
have opened to the public in washington DC. the buildings open themselves to their residential contexts, generating welcoming centers
which merge socially focused aspects with an urban and cultural program.

within the wooded setting of fort davis park, the ‘francis gregory neighborhood library’ takes on the atmosphere of a pavilion.
capped with a flat plane roof with deep eaves, the two-storey building is defined by an elevational composition of diamond panels.
the motif is continued within the canopy, shading the interior from direct sunlight while introducing solar gain during winter.
an external glass enclosure of alternating transparent and opaque panes reflect the greenery within the facade. openings between
the diagonal structural framework allow outward views into the trees.

facade detail
image © edmund sumner

the interior hosts programmatic areas for adults, teens and children along with public meeting and conference rooms.
the perimeter’s windows integrate seating to encourage visitors to enjoy the landscape. a material palette of timber
brings the outdoor environment inside.

library atrium
image © edmund sumner

‘our mission, with the francis gregory library, has been to offer a new way to experience books, reading and story-telling.
rather than a traditional closed building, this library is porous and open, with the canopy providing a welcoming entrance
that invites people inside. conceived as an extension to the park, it is not only a place to gather, but also a place of
contemplation and learning.’
– david adjaye

upper level reading areas
image © edmund sumner

integrating into the site’s steep terrain, the ‘william o.
lockridge/bellevue library’ is expressed with a cluster of volumes which
are lifted or set within the ground. an entry portico is placed beneath an elevated event and public gathering area while the
stacks and reading areas are placed on the lower floors. a series of
rectangular footprints arranged at angles to each other in plan
form a linear progression starting with the circulation desk, and then following with the adult browsing and support offices.
paralleling the rising street and topography, visitors ascend a concrete
stairway to successive levels within separate structures,
finding the teenage on a second floor and children’s services on the third.

‘william o. lockridge/bellevue library’
image © edmund sumner

although reaching three storeys in some parts, the collection
of buildings still maintain the scale of the encompassing residential fabric.
timber fins wrapping the concrete and glazed skin articulates the external presence amidst the sloping landscape, doubling as
structural supports and filtering daylight inside.

covered entry
image © edmund sumner

‘communities need empowering buildings – and this neighbourhood
library is all about the creation of a strong beacon for its community.
the primary act of public architecture is to create spaces that are
socially edifying and socially liberating – using design excellence as
a social force that makes good. this is at the heart of my work, so it
is very exciting to see this building welcome its community
through its doors.’
– david adjaye

central atrium
image © edmund sumner

see our initial coverage of the libraries during their design phases here.

computer area
image © edmund sumner

project info:

project name: francis gregory neighborhood library
architect: adjaye associates
structural engineer: ReStl designers, inc.
mechanical engineer: setty & associates
client: capital projects
total area: 22,500 sqf
contract value: 13 m USD

project name: william o. lockridge/bellevue library
architect: adjaye associates
client: district of columbia public libraries
structural engineer: ReStl designers inc
mechanical engineer: getty and associates international
total area: 22,500 sqf
contract value: 13 m USD

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