Launch Slideshow

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Queens Library

Queens Library

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    Courtesy Steven Holl Architects

    View of the river-facing side of the library model.

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    Courtesy Steven Holl Architects

    Reading garden with ginko trees.

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    Courtesy Steven Holl Architects

    Watercolor of interior with terraced stacks.

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    Courtesy Steven Holl Architects

    View from across the river.

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    Courtesy Steven Holl Architects

    View from the East River at night.

Located on a prime site along New York’s East River, the 21,000-square-foot Queens Library takes full advantage of its views of the Manhattan skyline. Glazed cuts in the 100-percent-recycled foamed-aluminum rainscreen allow users to track views as they move up a series of perimeter stairs. The cuts expose the three main sections of the library program: the children, teen, and adult sections. Visitors enter through a grove of ginko trees into a multiheight space with exposed structure and cloth-formed concrete walls, where the stacks are organized on a series of stepped risers. The project, which is scheduled to open in 2013, incorporates green features such as geothermal heating and rooftop photovoltaic cells—visible from an accessible roof garden—that provide 10 percent of the building’s power. Sustainability is important to principal Steven Holl, AIA, “especially in a library, where it can be an educational tool,” he says.