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February 23, 2007
by Daniel Fox

Event: Bronx Library — LEED Silver
Location: Center for Architecture, 02.07.07
Speakers: Daniel Heuberger, AIA, LEED AP — Principal, Dattner Architects; Robin Auchincloss, AIA, LEED AP — Senior Associate, Dattner Architects; James Kilkenny — Project Executive F. J. Sciame Construction Co., Inc.; Susan Kent — Director & CEO of The Branch Libraries, The New York Public Library
Moderator: William Stein, AIA — Principal, Dattner Architects
Organizer: AIA NY Committee on the Environment (COTE)

Jeff Goldberg/Esto

The Bronx Library Center’s sloping roof aids its green design.

Jeff Goldberg/Esto

The 78,000-square-foot Bronx Library Center at the New York Public Library, the largest public library in the Bronx, is the first publicly funded building in New York City to receive LEED Silver certification. Its open, light interior contrasts the dark 25,000-square-foot building it replaced creating a transparency that connects with the neighborhood. Since its opening in January 2006, numerous community groups began to use the building. If numbers can indicate success, 527,000 items were checked out and 15,400 library cards were issued last year, compared to a previous 154,000 items and 3,100 library cards.

The design of the Bronx Library Center is specific to the site conditions, particularly its eastern orientation and zoning envelope. The sloped metal roof maximizes the building’s area within the zoning constraints and allows light to penetrate the western side of the building. Cantilevered glass on the east façade also gives a sense of openness and maximum light penetration. The design includes an outdoor reading room on the roof that will be surrounded by a 10-foot hedge. Related energy conservation measures include thermally broken glass, light shelves, and mechanical blinds.

In addition to being an important lesson in sustainable design for the client, designers, and contractor, the library enjoys success as a public resource. The users of the building learn about sustainable architecture on a daily basis as they explore the Center’s new design.

Aaron Slodounik, LEED AP, is a freelance art and architecture writer.

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