City of Austin, Texas, New Central Library
Austin, TX | 2016
The New Central Library gives Austin an iconic landmark and a flexible facility that reflects the city’s rich cultural and social fabric. Located next to Shoal Creek, the library will help define the western portal to downtown and provide a welcoming community gathering place.
Reader seats wrap the sunlit perimeter, spilling onto screened outdoor reading porches that overlook Lady Bird Lake. In addition to a reading room and dedicated areas for children and teens, the library features a mix of lively and contemplative spaces that support imaginative programming. This includes a 350-seat event forum for presentations and performance; display and demonstration areas; community meeting rooms of varying sizes; and collections displays that encourage discovery.
The library embraces Austin’s environmental commitment: in addition to the generous use of natural light, the project includes energy-efficient systems focused on reducing water use and the building’s overall footprint. These include rainwater harvesting and a vegetated roof. The facility offers a 200-car garage, a dedicated bike porch, and proximity to public transit, a hike-and-bike trail, and the Lance Armstrong Bikeway. It is pursuing LEED certification.
The joint venture Lake|Flato Shepley Bulfinch of San Antonio and Boston is the architect. The library’s inclusive planning, programming, and design process has engaged city and library staff as well as a wide range of Austin residents.
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Shepley Bulfinch TeamSid Bowen