joining the famous ‘pepsi-cola’ and ‘long island’ signs against a backdrop of rapidly constructed skyscraper condominiums, steven holl architects has completed a new library building that brings community-devoted space to the new york waterfront. located in queens’ hunters point neighborhood, the independent structure occupies a minimal footprint on its 32,000 square foot site to offer views of the park on which it sits, as well as across the east river towards manhattan.

steven holl architects completes hunters point library on the queens waterfront
image © paul warchol (also main image)

 

 

steven holl’s design seeks to re-imagine the traditional library model with a wide range of spaces — from intimate reading areas to active gathering zones. ‘the building’s aluminum-painted concrete shell is not just a façade but a load-bearing structure, which omits curtain walls and columns,’ explains the design team. ‘sculpted cuts are carved out of the façade, showing the movement of people within and framing expansive views of the manhattan skyline.’

steven holl architects completes hunters point library on the queens waterfront
image © paul warchol

 

 

an auditorium at ground level provides a setting for public meetings and events. above, the stairs switch back from mezzanine to mezzanine, connecting reading areas and concluding in a rooftop reading terrace with views of the river and the city beyond. ‘while the plan is compact, the building section of the new library is open and flowing to allow for the most energy-efficient design and the greatest amount of public green space on the site,’ the architects continue.

steven holl architects completes hunters point library on the queens waterfront
image courtesy of steven holl architects

 

 

although the programmatic divisions are fluid, the separation of the children’s, teen, and adult areas can be read in the sculpted cuts of the building’s east elevation. bamboo has been used throughout the interior to ensure an inviting social space, while natural light enters through large windows. ‘the digital and the book are merged through the bookshelves and adjacent digital workstations that flow upward along a series of open stairs,’ says steven holl architects. see designboom’s previous coverage of the project here.

steven holl architects completes hunters point library on the queens waterfront
image © paul warchol

steven holl architects completes hunters point library on the queens waterfront
image courtesy of steven holl architects

steven holl architects completes hunters point library on the queens waterfront
image © paul warchol

steven holl architects completes hunters point library on the queens waterfront
image courtesy of steven holl architects

steven holl architects completes hunters point library on the queens waterfront
image © paul warchol

steven holl architects completes hunters point library on the queens waterfront
image © paul warchol

steven holl architects completes hunters point library on the queens waterfront
image © paul warchol

 

 

project info:

 

name: hunters point library
location: queens, NY, united states
dates: 2010 – 2019
client: queens public library, new york city department of design and construction
architect: steven holl architects — steven holl (design architect, principal), chris mcvoy (senior partner in charge), olaf schmidt (senior associate in charge), filipe taboada (project architect, associate), suk lee (project architect CA), bell ying yi cai, rychiee espinosa, jongseo lee, maki matsubayashi, michael rusch, dominik sigg, yasmin vobis, jeanne wellinger (project team)
landscape architect: michael van valkenburgh and associates
structural engineer: silman
MEP engineer: ICOR associates
lighting design: l’observatoire international
LEED consultant: ADS engineers
civil engineer: langan engineering & environmental services
fire technical consultant: rolf jensen & assoc.
cost estimator: davis langdon
specifications: construction specifications inc.
climate engineers: transsolar