2017 Best of Design Award for Civic – Educational: Elmhurst Community Library

Architect: Marpillero Pollak Architects
Location: Queens, New York

With over 80,000 users speaking more than 57 languages, Elmhurst is the second-busiest circulating library of the 64 in Queens Library’s network. The building’s massing maximizes the impact of an existing community park and highlights the civic role of two reading rooms that emit a welcoming glow after sunset. The main circulation spine extends the streetscape toward a group of trees in the block interior. A system of brightly colored “portals” supports orientation and interaction among programmatic spaces catering to diverse age groups, reinforcing the library’s neighborhood significance. The main architectural elements are two structural glass cubes that position patrons within the community park and on the urban thoroughfare of Broadway. The park cube makes legibile the operations of the library’s two main floors with a monumental stair grounded by a bookshelf, while the Broadway cube floats above the main entry displaying the work 955 Shapes by artist Allan McCollum.

“This handsome new library takes full advantage of its site with its richness in textures and colors, and provides a welcoming cultural and educational resource for this Queens community.” —Irene Sunwoo, Director of Exhibitions, GSAPP (juror)

Structural Engineer:
Severud Associates

General Contractor:
Stalco Construction

Percent for Art (Selected Artist):
Allan McCollum

Structural Glass:
W & W Glass

Material Supplier for Terra-cotta Rainscreen:
Boston Valley Terra Cotta