Highlights of the 1995 Library Buildings Award Program

By Loeber, Amy C. | Computers in Libraries, September 1995 | Go to article overview

Highlights of the 1995 Library Buildings Award Program


Loeber, Amy C., Computers in Libraries


The 1995 Award of Excellence for Library Architecture, sponsored by the Library Administration and Management Association (LAMA) and the American Institute of Architects (AIA), was awarded to six architectural organizations at the American Library Association's Annual Conference on June 24th in Chicago.

Libraries of all types were eligible. Award categories are new buildings, additions, interiors design and refurbishing, renovation, restoration, and conversion to library use. Judges look for design resolution, design advancement, societal advancement, technical advancement, environmental advancement, and preservation/restoration. According to the rules and regulations in the 1995 entry form, "The entrant should bear in mind that the project will not be judged in competition with other entries, but on the basis of the solution of the problem presented and its worthiness for an award for excellence in library architecture and planning."

Entrants were required to submit photographs and color slides of the library, as well as a site plan and a floor plan clearly showing library functions and detailing furniture and equipment layouts.

The judging panel consisted of three librarians and three architects, all with extensive knowledge of library buildings. The following six recipients of the 1995 Award of Excellence for Library Architecture won for three new buildings, a major renovation, and two adaptive retrofittings of non-library structures.

Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates and Kennard Design Group of Los Angeles renovated the Bertram Goodbue building for the Los Angeles Public Library's central branch in a 10-year, $214 million project which included design, construction, and installation of both a new east wing and all interior elements; the creation of a public park to the west; and extensive rehabilitation and select restoration of the 1926 landmark building which had been damaged by both arson and earthquake. The original decorative tiles and the torch which symbolized the building's theme, "The Light of Learning," have also been restored. A local resident, in a newspaper editorial, said, "What has happened is the creation of a profoundly satisfying urban experience, and one of the most positive improvements in the [city's modern] history."

Clint Pherson Architects of Seattte created a new community library called the Amanda Park Timberland Library. It is on the Quinault Indian Reservation, adjacent to a national park and surrounded by a rain forest. Throughout the design of the library, there are quite a few metaphorical references to the beliefs and traditions of the Quinault Indians; this connects the library to the community. Clint Pherson Architects described the library by saying, "Exposed framing makes reference to the skeletal forms which pervade Quinault culture ... two native species of cedar were employed for structural framing, siding and interior woodwork. In deference to the fragile site, the building is raised above the ground on columns, permitting drainage and vegetation to continue uninterrupted." The library is the only civic building in the area, so it was also designed to be an important landmark for the community.

Davis, Brody & Associates of New York renovated a 100-year-old school building at Baruch College and created the new William and Anita Newman Library and Technology Center, a highly computerized, modem library. The building contains library, computer and technology centers, as well as a campus conference center and student enrollment offices.

The library is organized around a central atrium and is visually open. Kristen McDonough, chief librarian at the William and Anita Newman Library, was very impressed with the renovation, "The design meets a range of information needs, from individual study at traditional carrels and browsing in comfortable lounge areas, to project work, presentations, and seminars in group facilities," she said. …

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