This project is located in the existing Church of Our Lady of Lebanon in Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Public Library’s Brooklyn Heights Branch is moving temporarily for a few years to the Church while the permanent library is being constructed.
The scope of the temporary library includes the build-out of the main hall for use by the library visitors and staff as well as the build-out of new bathrooms, staff room and storage space. The project includes both design and building maintenance issues in order to change the C of O and bring the equipment up to current energy code standards. The scope also includes structural reinforcement to the existing space to accommodate the additional live and dead loads of the library.
The design strategy is simple - to maximize the openness of the existing hall while still providing for private spaces at the librarian staff area and the Multi-Purpose Room. The solution is a single translucent “worm” wall - a BookWorm that bellies out at the ends to create the private spaces with access to light and fresh air and curves in at the middle to create a large shared open space for reading, studying and browsing books. The lower portion of the bookworm wall contains books and desks counters and above, the wall surface is comprised of translucent “Panelite” panels and a text graphic of Walt Whitman’s poem, “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry”. Whitman’s poem creates a background of floating text for the activities that take place in the library reading area and a text filter through which to see the transmission of light and views from the private spaces of the staff offices and the library meeting room.