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London Public Library

Showcase row: 
not a showcase item
Student name: 
Claire Ronan
Discipline: 
Architecture
Level: 
Bachelor 4
Instructor(s): 
Andrew Cruse
Course: 
ARCH 4410: Architectural Design V
Term: 
Autumn 2015
Description: 

            The London Public Library is two trapezoids that pull pedestrians from both the northern riverfront and the southern street edge into the Great Hall where the two forms intersect. The shell of the building responds to surrounding building heights, folds the northern landscape down and into the building, and provides a plaza for restaurant seating on the south street edge.  On the interior, the trapezoids merely encase two zones where distinct spatial strategies are employed.

The first floor is a public zone containing the restaurant, a cafe, newspaper kiosks, a children’s center, and a gallery to display the information produced in the library. Visitors can either move up the ramp and into the south region of the library or up the elevators to the northern section. In the south trapezoid, spaces are arranged in a field of columns.  Bars of small study rooms, galleries, and offices line the perimeter on the second and third floors while objects like the auditorium and figural stacks layout float among the loose column grid.  The figural stacks create pockets of space for studying, circulation, and structural columns.  The northern trapezoid houses two stacks of floor plates encased in functional poche. The mass exists to be carved, creating moments of aperture, individual reading rooms, vertical circulation, service space, and structure for the building.  These floors hold tables for group work, provide small reading room niches in the perimeter, and feature views to the city.

 

A bar physically connects these two spatial strategies and allows the poche to seep into the south trapezoid, manifesting itself in the form of a much larger occupiable object, the auditorium. The bar also provides views across both zones and the Great Hall.

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