Launch Slideshow

The façade of the River Center Library is formed from a framework of crisscrossing steel that is infilled with concave glass panels, which give the building an accordion-like appearance. The perimeter glazing allows maximum daylight into the interior while maintaining a transparency that allows passersby to see the people and books within.

River Center Library

Trahan Architects

River Center Library

Trahan Architects

  • The façade of the River Center Library is formed from a framework of crisscrossing steel that is infilled with concave glass panels, which give the building an accordion-like appearance. The perimeter glazing allows maximum daylight into the interior while maintaining a transparency that allows passersby to see the people and books within.

    http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmpD7AF%2Etmp_tcm20-283655.jpg

    The façade of the River Center Library is formed from a framework of crisscrossing steel that is infilled with concave glass panels, which give the building an accordion-like appearance. The perimeter glazing allows maximum daylight into the interior while maintaining a transparency that allows passersby to see the people and books within.

    600

    Courtesy Trahan Architects

    The façade of the River Center Library is formed from a framework of crisscrossing steel that is infilled with concave glass panels, which give the building an accordion-like appearance. The perimeter glazing allows maximum daylight into the interior while maintaining a transparency that allows passersby to see the people and books within.

  • A void between the circulation ramps and the central floor plates allows visitors to take in multiple levels from one vantage point. Because the concrete floor slabs appear to float, their finished edges become part of the visual experience.

    http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmpD7B1%2Etmp_tcm20-283669.jpg

    A void between the circulation ramps and the central floor plates allows visitors to take in multiple levels from one vantage point. Because the concrete floor slabs appear to float, their finished edges become part of the visual experience.

    600

    Courtesy Trahan Architects

    A void between the circulation ramps and the central floor plates allows visitors to take in multiple levels from one vantage point. Because the concrete floor slabs appear to float, their finished edges become part of the visual experience.

  • The section shows the stacks on thick concrete slabs, anchored by an off-center core that minimizes the need for columns. Encircling the central slabs are the gently sloped stair-step ramps that provide circulation through the building.

    http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmpD7AE%2Etmp_tcm20-283648.jpg

    The section shows the stacks on thick concrete slabs, anchored by an off-center core that minimizes the need for columns. Encircling the central slabs are the gently sloped stair-step ramps that provide circulation through the building.

    600

    Courtesy Trahan Architects

    The section shows the stacks on thick concrete slabs, anchored by an off-center core that minimizes the need for columns. Encircling the central slabs are the gently sloped stair-step ramps that provide circulation through the building.

  • This massing diagram shows a double helix of ramps that winds around the central stacks, choreographing the visitor experience and progression through the library.

    http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmpD7B2%2Etmp_tcm20-283676.jpg

    This massing diagram shows a double helix of ramps that winds around the central stacks, choreographing the visitor experience and progression through the library.

    600

    Courtesy Trahan Architects

    This massing diagram shows a double helix of ramps that winds around the central stacks, choreographing the visitor experience and progression through the library.

  • Flat vision glass on the interior-facing side of the façade is paired with an exterior layer of concave glass. In addition to lending aesthetic interest to the front of the building, this material changes the focus and refraction of the light, controlling the intensity of natural light as it enters the building.

    http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmpD7B3%2Etmp_tcm20-283683.jpg

    Flat vision glass on the interior-facing side of the façade is paired with an exterior layer of concave glass. In addition to lending aesthetic interest to the front of the building, this material changes the focus and refraction of the light, controlling the intensity of natural light as it enters the building.

    600

    Courtesy Trahan Architects

    Flat vision glass on the interior-facing side of the façade is paired with an exterior layer of concave glass. In addition to lending aesthetic interest to the front of the building, this material changes the focus and refraction of the light, controlling the intensity of natural light as it enters the building.

What If the Pages of a Book Opened Into a Building?
River Center Library / Trahan Architects

Site
The Baton Rouge River Center, an urban area bridging cultural and civic districts, adjacent to a green boulevard.

Program
A five-story public library with perimeter ramp circulation around central stacks.

Solution
The folded form of the library building is derived from sheets of paper, connected at the corners and then lifted to make a lattice. “It is interesting,” juror Diane Hoskins said. “It’s a play with the geometry.” But local firm Trahan Architects took this beyond a simple formal gesture, creating gently sloped stairs along the perimeter that provide circulation through, and determine the program of, the building.

The stacks are located at the center of the building on concrete slabs, and the edges of those slabs are finished and exposed to the visitors as they walk up the stairs to reach the next level. Each floor is accessible via both the stairs and a central elevator. “I think it’s pretty impressive,” juror John Peterson said. “For me, the challenge with libraries is the relationship between how one moves through the stacks and deals with access. This solution is pretty nice.”

A void between the perimeter ramps and the concrete slabs that support the stacks allows visitors to see multiple levels of the library at once, an effect that intrigued juror Adele Chatfield-Taylor. “I like the way it is porous going vertically,” she said. “That’s very attractive in a library, because it makes you curious about the rest, the way it gets used.”

Project Credits

Project River Center Library, Baton Rouge, La.
Client East Baton Rouge Parish Library—David Farrar (library director)
Architect Trahan Architects, Baton Rouge, La.—Trey Trahan (principal architect); Mark Hash (senior designer); Emma Chammah, Christian Rodriguez, Ivan O’Garro (project team)
Structural Engineer LBYD—Dennis Tow
M/E/P and Life Safety Engineer Associated Design Group—Larry Blanchette (mechanical); Tom VanDeventer (electrical); George Gregory (plumbing); Glen McBride (life safety)
Size 54,000 square feet