Tenley-Friendship Library, Washington, D.C., by The Freelon Group.

Tenley-Friendship Library, Washington, D.C., by The Freelon Group.

Credit: Mark Herboth Photography


Derived from the image of an open book, the design of Washington DC’s Tenley-Friendship Neighborhood Library showcases contrasting opacity and transparency. The building’s windowless exterior on the south and west sides wraps and protects the library akin to the cover of a book. In contrast, the north and east elevations of the building exhibit a transparent, visually porous skin, welcoming pedestrians traveling along Wisconsin Avenue and Albemarle Street. Perforated vertical fins are positioned along the length of these facades, allowing for shading while reinforcing openness and accessibility. This approach provides the reading rooms and stack areas with diffused natural light and minimal glare.


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