Overlooking Shoal Creek and Lady Bird Lake, the new Austin Central Library is a building shaped by light and designed to respond to the context of its place. The client and project team set aspirational sustainability and design metrics for the project, including two key sustainability goals: It would be the most daylit library in the country, and it would serve as a water conservation model for institutional buildings.
The heart of the building is the six-story atrium, which provides daylight for more than 80% of regularly occupied spaces. The client envisioned an iconic, civic hub where locals could connect with their community by pursuing a variety of interests. The facility is based on flexible, blended spaces including indoor collections and reading rooms, outdoor reading porches, maker spaces, outdoor dining, a technology center, café, bookstore, 350-seat event center, art gallery, demonstration kitchen, and 200-car parking garage. Integrated art works, interspersed throughout the library building, enhance this technology-focused environment by showcasing local and national artists. The unique rooftop butterfly garden and reading porches draw visitors to connect with nature.
Serving as the new western portal to downtown, the library establishes a major civic presence and community gathering space in the heart of Austin.
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