The Kenmore Library serves a suburban community largely bypassed by recent redevelopment. Located in an emerging downtown core that is a mix of 1960s retail buildings, surface parking, and a busy highway, the library responds to needs for community space and integration of public and commercial uses.
To accommodate changes in the continuing evolution of library services, the library design provides a flexible, interconnected, and adaptable floor plan, with minimal fixed obstructions limiting internal organization. As a gesture of civic inclusiveness, the reading room is transparent and open, with continuous glazing on the public facades and a delicate tension-rod roof truss system which clear-spans the 75’ x 90’ space. Optimum solar orientation and central skylights fill the reading room with balanced and diffused natural light. Relatively solid enclosures of brick and wood at either end of the reading room contain library support functions and private study areas. A raised floor system provides HVAC, power, and data distribution, with public artwork integrated into the floor cavity. Extensive daylighting, LED fixtures, reclaimed wood, and regionally-sourced materials and furniture contribute to sustainability goals.
In response to local aspirations for a pedestrian-friendly downtown, the library connects to the street with an entry plaza and submerges parking beneath the building. Parallel to the street, the library extends to the property line, anticipating future party-walls. A garden of native plants and sculpted landforms buffers the reading room from the highway, providing rainwater infiltration that reduces surface run-off into nearby Lake Washington.