Westchester Square Library
A prismatic reading room
Developed as a critical node within the neighborhood, the new Westchester Square Library will deliver an important economic and educational resource to a vibrant and diverse section of the borough. Located beside the historic Huntington Free Library, a non-circulating library that predates NYPL by four years, the new Westchester Square branch will extend the site’s legacy as a place where knowledge is acquired and shared for generations to come. Designed as a prismatic reading room lifted on a board-formed concrete base, the Library’s fritted glass facades are inspired by The Bronx’s status as the “greenest Borough of New York City” and depict abstract views of the borough’s tree canopies.
Civil Engineer: Thornton Tomasetti
Structural Engineer: Silman
Sustainability Consultant: Atelier 10
MEP Engineer: Altieri
The Library's fritted glass facade is wrapped in a graphic print inspired by the verdant tree canopies of The Bronx. Targeting LEED Platinum certification, the new Library will feature a high-performance envelope design and a solar array allowing the building to lessen electric demand on the area’s critical energy infrastructure during peak events. Additionally, the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) has contributed funding to position the Library as a pilot project for DCAS’s 80x50 initiative, which seeks to reduce the city's carbon emissions 80% by 2050. As a result, the Library will feature extensive energy conservation measures (ECM), including a high-efficiency energy recovery ventilator (EVR). These elements go above and beyond current energy code requirements.
Aside from visually relating to the greenery of The Bronx, the frit pattern is calibrated to frame vistas of the surrounding blocks and to filter incoming light from the sun as part of a holistic effort to reduce the Library’s energy use. At night, the Library will shine as a glowing beacon for the neighborhood and the city.
With interior spaces organized according to their need for light and views, the Library’s most social and active components, including new children-, teen-, and young adult-centered areas, will be on full display from both the sidewalk and the elevated 6 train. The classroom and community room spaces look out over a new Viewing Garden located at street level that doubles as a water retention and filtration installation. Filled with shade-loving perennial groundcovers and flowering ornamental trees, the Library Viewing Garden offers a sense of visual delight connecting the abstract façade patterning with the Library’s environmental performance.
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