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Hunters Point Community Library

Steven Holl Architects

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Queens Library; New York City Department of Design and Construction


  • Landscape Architect: Michael Van Valkenburgh and Associates
  • Structural Engineer: Robert Silman Associates
  • Mechanical Engineer: ICOR Associates
  • Lighting Designer: L'Observatoire International
  • Civil Engineer: Langan Engineering & Environmental Services
  • Other: ADS Engineers
  • Other: Irene Joyce Berzak-Schoen
  • Other: Rolf Jensen & Assoc.
  • Other: Davis Langdon
  • Other: Construction Specifications Inc.
  • Other: Transsolar


22,000 sq. feet





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Project Description

Located on a prominent site along the East River against the backdrop of recently built skyscraper condominiums, the design for the 22,000 square foot Queens Library at Hunters Point will stand as a public building and public park and will bring community devoted space to the increasingly privatized Long Island City waterfront.

The concrete structure of the building is exposed and aluminum painted, giving the exterior a subtle sparkle. A golden-section upturned rectangle is carved out according to the browsing circuit of movement within the interior of library. Glazed cuts in the façade grant users views toward the city as they move up a series of bookshelf flanked stairs. The main Manhattan view, perpendicular to the internal movement of the library, gives visitors to this small space a dramatic experience.

The program's separation into children's area, teen area and adult area can be read in the sculpted cuts of the east face of the building, one façade opening for each area; yet the programmatic divisions are fluid. While the plan is compact, the building section of the new library is open and flowing allowing for the most energy-efficient design and the greatest amount of public green space on the site.

On the east entrance side, the library faces a reading garden ordered by a low park office pavilion with a bosque of ginko trees. Ascending the stair inside visitors can reach the rooftop reading garden with panoramic views of the city.

At night the glowing presence of the new library along the waterfront joins the Pepsi sign and the "Long Island" sign at the old Gantry to become a beacon for this new community place.
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