Jake Faulkner's Chicago Library

2017 National DiscoverDesign Competition: Library + Community Space Design


I’m designing this Library for the people of little Italy, Chicago. A very diverse group of people who need more space to further innovate, create, and improve the world around them. A community anchor to gather behind and push forward into the future. With spaces for everyone to create; for kids, teenagers, and adults alike.

Collect Info

During my research before I started deigning my library I did several case studies of other libraries and learned what I could about the neighborhood. I looked at the Hillary Rodham Children's Library and the Cedar Rapids Public Library for inspiration on my own design. I found that the use of a lot of glass and exposed structure looked really good. In the neighborhood you have older brick buildings most being around three stories tall. Nearby the site for the library is the Jane Addams museum, so I needed to take that into consideration as well.

Brainstorm Ideas

I created a site analysis to help figure out where certain things should go and what I could do with the building. Across the street from the library is the Jane Addams museum so I have a big window facing it, making for a more welcoming view. Allowing for people to easily go from one building to the other. From there I created a bubble diagram to help me arrange the rooms and decide which rooms should be next each other. After the bubble diagram was finished I could start on sketching the floor plan of the building. I worked out the shape I wanted for the building by fitting the rooms together. I found what would and wouldn't work and found ways to fix what didn't. Changing the sizes of rooms and and reworking shapes, even moving entire sections to a different floor.

Develop Solutions

I designed the lobby to be entered from Ada Street and the parking lot of the library. On the South side of the building you have the meeting rooms(Left) and cafe(right). On the North side are the staff rooms, maintenance, and an information desk for book check ins or information on the location of rooms in the library. From the lobby you take the elevator up to the second floor where you can go to either the adult reading room or the children's. on the south is the adult reading room, moving across the bridge you have the children's reading room on the north end of the building. From the second floor you can either take the stairs or the elevator up to the third floor. The stairs are in both reading rooms leading up to more bookshelves, computers, and seating areas. The elevator leads up to another bridge where you can see all the way down to the first floor lobby.

Final Design

This library should be a place for the community to gather and learn. My design reflects this intention, with meeting rooms for people to hold events or meet for school/work. The reading areas are for people of all ages to learn, study, and work. The reading areas have computer stations as well if students need to work on projects or for people without access to the internet. The exterior of the building itself used two main materials; stone and glass. The stone fits in well with the surrounding buildings and the glass creates a feeling of openness when combined with the high ceilings of the interior. On the interior stone was used mixed with different woods and colors to give some of the rooms a warmer feeling. The West wall with the cut out design on it, I used metal to be an attention grabber for anyone driving by. I wanted my library to fit in with the surrounding structures, but also stand out and feel more modern.


Competition Jury 3 years ago
Very attractive building, inside and out. Great renderings and graphic communication. Detailing of interior is really good. Total package this was really good. Interior was definitely the most complete. They definitely thought about how the building would fit in the community - AR
Competition Jury 3 years ago
Nice sense of curiosity when you walk around the building and see the other side - JE