Austin's living room

City of Austin,
Austin Central Library

Austin, TX
Located on the western edge of Austin, the New Central Library reflects the eclecticism, authenticity, and diversity of Austinites and their way of life.
The New Central Library pays homage to two big ideas: Austin's love affair with books and with nature. Located next to Shoal Creek, the 198,000-sf building utilizes native, sustainable, and touchable materials, chosen to celebrate Austin's design and construction heritage.
Readers can sink into seats that wrap the sunlit perimeter, or take in views of hiking trails and Lady Bird Lake from screened outdoor reading porches. The Library also features display and demonstration areas, community meeting rooms of varying sizes, and a 350-seat event forum for presentations and performances.
The space is defined by intersecting bridges and stairs that encourage serendipitous connections. Natural light floods the six-story atrium. An angled roof diffuses the unrelenting Texas sun.
The Library celebrates Austin's walking and biking culture with generous sheltered pedestrian walkways and connections to nearby hiking and biking trails.
Embracing Austin’s commitment to the environment, rainwater harvesting, an in-ground cistern, and the building’s vegetated roof work together to reduce water usage.
A photovoltaic cell generates 13% of the building’s power and shades the rooftop garden. The Library uses 40% less energy than a building of comparable size.
The project was a Shepley Bulfinch - Lake Flato joint venture.