HUNTERS POINT COMMUNITY LIBRARY

Queens, NY, United States, June 2010 - 2017
PROGRAM: Library with adult reading collection, children's area, teen area, cybercenter, conference room and outdoor amphitheater
CLIENT: New York City Department of Design and Construction Queens Library
SIZE: 22,000 sq ft
STATUS: construction phase
Located on a prominent site along the East River against the backdrop of recently built skyscraper condominiums, the design for the 22,000 square foot Queens Library at Hunters Point will stand as a public building and public park and will bring community-devoted space to the increasingly privatized Long Island City waterfront.

The concrete structure of the building is exposed and aluminum painted, giving the exterior a subtle sparkle. A golden-section upturned rectangle is carved out according to the browsing circuit of movement within the interior of library. Glazed cuts in the façade grant users views toward the city as they move up a series of bookshelf flanked stairs. The main Manhattan view, perpendicular to the internal movement of the library, gives visitors to this small space a dramatic experience.

The program's separation into children's area, teen area and adult area can be read in the sculpted cuts of the east face of the building, one façade opening for each area; yet the programmatic divisions are fluid. While the plan is compact, the building section of the new library is open and flowing allowing for the most energy-efficient design and the greatest amount of public green space on the site.

On the east entrance side, the library faces a reading garden bordered by a low park office pavilion with a bosque of ginko trees. Ascending the stair inside visitors can reach the rooftop reading garden with panoramic views of the city.

At night the glowing presence of the new library along the waterfront joins the Pepsi sign and the "Long Island" sign at the old Gantry to become a beacon for this new community place.
HUNTERS POINT COMMUNITY LIBRARY HUNTERS POINT COMMUNITY LIBRARY HUNTERS POINT COMMUNITY LIBRARY HUNTERS POINT COMMUNITY LIBRARY HUNTERS POINT COMMUNITY LIBRARY HUNTERS POINT COMMUNITY LIBRARY HUNTERS POINT COMMUNITY LIBRARY HUNTERS POINT COMMUNITY LIBRARY HUNTERS POINT COMMUNITY LIBRARY HUNTERS POINT COMMUNITY LIBRARY HUNTERS POINT COMMUNITY LIBRARY HUNTERS POINT COMMUNITY LIBRARY HUNTERS POINT COMMUNITY LIBRARY HUNTERS POINT COMMUNITY LIBRARY
"Located in Hunters Point—a formerly industrial neighborhood in the midst of a transformation every bit as sweeping as its view of Manhattan across the East River—a new branch of the Queens Public Library, designed by Steven Holl Architects, will be the jewel in a crown of several projects slates for the area. In their design, Holl and senior partner Chris McVoy blow apart the Carnegie library archetype, punching irregularly shaped windows into an 80-foot-tall facade clad in aluminum panels. These curvy openings will showcase the movement of bodies, like video game characters on an iPad screen, to underscore the library's evolution from a place that circulates books to one where communities mix and mingle."
– James Murdock, Architectural Record
"Located on a prime site along New York's East River, the 21,000-square-foot Queens Library takes full advantage of its views of the Manhattan skyline. Glazed cuts in the 100-percent-recycled foamed-aluminum rainscreen allow users to track views as they move up a series of perimeter stairs. The project, which is scheduled to open in 2013, incorporates green features such as geothermal heating and rooftop photovoltaic cells that provide 10 percent of the building's power. Sustainability is important to principal Steven Holl, AIA, "especially in a library, where it can be an educational tool," he says."
– Katie Gerfen, Architect
“It is a striking expression of the continuing effort to shake the dust off of the city’s aging libraries and recast them as lively communal hubs, and should go far in bolstering the civic image of Queens. The building’s beguiling appearance should make it an instantly recognizable landmark. Mr. Holl’s design is not about escaping this world but transforming it into something more poetic. It is the constant reminders of the larger world provided by the giant cuts through the building’s surface that give the design so much resonance. Mr. Holl is not interested in creating a monastic sanctuary; he wants to build a monument to civic engagement. The views aren’t just pretty; they remind us that the intellectual exchange of a library is part of a bigger collective enterprise.”
– Nicolai Ouroussoff, New York Times

AWARDS

  • 2010 AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN DESIGN, USA, 2011
  • CREDITS

    • architect
      • – Steven Holl Architects
        • Steven Holl, Chris McVoy (design architects)
        • Chris McVoy (senior partner in charge)
        • Olaf Schmidt (associate in charge)
        • Filipe Taboada (project architect)
        • Bell Ying Yi Cai, Rychiee Espinosa, JongSeo Lee, Suk Lee, Maki Matsubayashi, Michael Rusch, Dominik Sigg, Yasmin Vobis, Jeanne Wellinger (project team)
    • landscape architect
      • – Michael Van Valkenburgh and Associates
    • structural engineer
      • – Robert Silman Associates
    • MEP engineer
      • – ICOR Associates
    • lighting design
      • – L'Observatoire International
    • LEED consultant
      • – ADS Engineers
    • code consultant
      • – Irene Joyce Berzak-Schoen
    • civil engineer
      • – Langan Engineering & Environmental Services
    • fire technical consultant
      • – Rolf Jensen & Assoc.
    • cost estimator
      • – Davis Langdon
    • specifications
      • – Construction Specifications Inc.
    • climate engineers
      • – Transsolar
    Press Contact

    Original Copy
    t + 1 718 386-8643
    press@stevenholl.com