Situated among the recent crop of towers on the waterfront in Hunters Point, a new library from Steven Holl Architects is taking shape in Long Island City. The project broke ground in the summer of 2015 after spending nearly a decade in planning and topped out this past summer.
Standing 104 feet tall, the library's rectangular volume is defined by concrete exterior walls that will be covered with a metallic paint that will shimmer in the sunlight. Previous design iterations of the concrete's treatment included cladding the surface with metal panels or casting the concrete with a bubble wrap-like formwork to create a pattern of round indentations on the surface. To provide light and views to the interior, the concrete facade features organically shaped openings of various sizes that often follow the circulation path found within. At night, the light will shine through the openings, creating a dramatic lantern on the Queens waterfront visible to the community and Manhattan.
Inside, the building will embrace the library typology's new role as community hub with a diverse array of programs totaling approximately 22,000 square-feet. Visitors will enter at the center of the building, with a meeting room on the north and offices on the south end of the first floor.
At the second level, a stepped adult reading area will rise along the northern half, with dramatic views of the Manhattan skyline and Gantry Plaza State Park from the organic façade opening that follows the multi-level space.
A similarly stepped children's area will occupy the southern half from levels two to four and is defined by a curving structure that transitions from wall to roof. To mitigate sound, the form will be clad in an acoustical bamboo, a warm contrast to the concrete exterior.
On the upper levels, space will be provided for a teen area and a cyber center.
A café will occupy the roof level, along with an outdoor terrace that features a stepped seating area, the slope of which is registered on the west façade with a void cut into the concrete.
Completion is slated for sometime next year.
Architect: Steven Holl Architects; Client: New York City Department of Design and Construction, Queens Library; Program: Library; Location: Hunters Point, Long Island City, Queens, NY; Completion: 2017.