Area: 98,200 square feet plus basement
Awards: AIA Chicago Distinguished Building Award; Best in Class - Municipal Category, Brick In Architecture Awards; First Place - Institutional Category, American Society of Interior Designers Design Excellence Awards
Publications: Library Journal "Year in Architecture 2012"; American Libraries Magazine (online version), "Library Design Showcase 2012: Youth Spaces"; ILA Reporter, "New Library Buildings", Volume XXX, Issue 1; Chicago Tribune, March 7, 2011; Herald News, March 7, 2011; Bolingbrook Patch, March 8, 2011 and March 30, 2011.
Site & Program: The site plan and building footprint are organized to create a presence for the library along Briarcliff Road while maximizing views of an existing park. The size of the floor plates approach the maximum size recommended by library planners. The proportion of the floor plates provides flexibility for the future.
The building plan began with rectangular floor plates which were carved away to provide a more organic form. Each floor plate is unique and the total three-story volume fits well into the park setting. Extensive green roofs further reinforce a connection to the park.
Design: Our favorite stories often bridge familiarity and fantasy to deepen our understanding of our place in the world. Interior design for Fountaindale Public Library aspires to similar relevance.
Overlapping ideas inform the design. One is an ‘opening up’ that unfolds between the intimate lobby environment and the airy reading room above. Another is the manifestation of community identity through materials fashioned to simulate a natural environment. Another is variety in library environments to serve an increasingly diverse population, an emerging trend among suburban public libraries.
These ideas are manifested in a variety of design elements. Upon entering, a tree-like wood canopy creates an intimacy that is echoed in “caves of wood” study rooms above. The Children’s area is a collection of interior parks organized around interactive, tectonic tree exhibits. The Teen area is a world unto itself intended to foster life-long library users among an age group often neglected in library design. The stair wraps an LED-lit glass ‘tube’ that cycles through color displays according to the clock to orient visitors in time and space. Glass patterning, which is traced from tree shadows, has a transformative effect. Cumulatively, these environments create a library environment both familiar and otherworldly.
The library is LEED Gold certified.