Turning Pages Library

kayleybeard11's project

2017 National DiscoverDesign Competition: Library + Community Space Design


Who are you designing for? I am designing a library for the people in the Little Italy neighborhood in Chicago to improve access to this public resource. There are many libraries in Chicago, but many people cannot easily walk and access a library in this neighborhood. The design has to account for easy accessibility by different modes of transportation and it needs to be suitable for the neighborhood.

Where are you designing? I am designing in the Little Italy/ University community in Chicago, Illinois. The location that the site is near has both residential and commercial structures. The community is very diverse along with the location, so the building has to be something that stands out in the community, yet fits in to the style and diversity that the city offers. The building also has to be easily recognizable as a library, so it needs to stand out and represent a library.


Tylor738 9 months ago
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Collect Info

Do a site visit of your location using google street view (document what you see with notes, sketches, and screenshots) I see a mix of residential and commercial buildings near the site. On the street there is a park, stores, and restaurants, while there are houses nearby where residents can easily walk to the site. I see that most of the cars park in front of the building, so I would need to find a way to accommodate more parking spots for cars. I also need the site to be accessible for walkers and people who take community transportation. I see that the site is located in a traditional neighborhood with buildings that use similar materials and layouts to each other. I want to make sure that the library stands out, so I will make it of different materials, so it can be a unique building to the community. There is also a garden and greenhouse area next to the site.

Research the Little Italy/ University Village to learn more about the people who live in the area. The people in Little Italy are very diverse. There are people of many different races and ethnicities. There is also a variety in transportation methods and types of housing. Many people walk or drive cars, so the building has to be functional for them.

How will I create an inviting space that is unique to the local community? I will create an inviting space that is unique to the local community by creating a modern library that is has a different style from the other buildings in Little Italy. I will make sure that the building is a focal point to the people in the community and has an inviting modern feel. The building will be easily functional, yet be divided into different areas where people perform a variety of tasks.

Research the Chicago Public Library to learn the mission and vision Chicago Public Libraries (CPL) are public spaces that provide free resources for our communities. Libraries may contain facilities such as community meeting spaces, media rooms, information center, reading area, adult room, and a children’s area. The CPL’s goal is to encourage community interaction by creating transparency and openness in their buildings which will create a friendly environment and foster interactions within the members of the community.

Make a list of the features that I like about public libraries that all people should have access to -3D printer and makerspace -computer labs -group and individual study areas -large café -garden and outside reflection space -community area -auditorium for community functions

Make a separate list of all the ways the current library options are not so well designed. (use your school library as a case study) -there is no flow -there are too many bookshelves and not enough books -there is no separation between the study area and reading area -there are only a few computers -plan is not efficient -not a lot of room for students to study

Research other library solutions around the world. What about their designs inspires you? How so? -there are sectioned off group spaces where people can collaborate together -3D maker and workshop area -café connected to the library and auditorium -large community spaces -modern and simplistic design -welcoming space -space of innovation

Brainstorm Ideas

What types of spaces need to be included in and around the library? Some of the types of spaces that need to be included in and around the library are a community center space, auditorium, café, garden, 3D maker space, computer areas, group and individual study rooms, library stack areas, and information centers.

How can you best use the site based on the location of other buildings, roads, sidewalks, parking, bus stops? What will fit in the lot? How will the surrounding area impact your design? A smaller building that is tall will fit on the site because there is not a lot of space to work with. The surrounding area will impact my design because the surrounding locations are near the site and people can easily walk and navigate through the area, going to and from different buildings. I will use the buildings as a guide to see the standard Little Italy architecture, but I will also make sure the library is unique from the surrounding buildings and has a modern feel to it. There are multiple bus stops on the same street as the library which is ideal to provide for an efficient route to the library for people living outside a walking distance.

How will the surrounding buildings impact the design? There are many bus stations that surround the site which will help the flow of traffic into the library. Traffic and surrounding buildings will attract people, along with the nearby residents. The surrounding buildings will impact the design because I will make the building similar to the function of the other buildings, but different to provide a transition and modern building in the city that unites the area and the people together.

What types of streets surround your housing (busy or quiet)? The streets surrounding the site have average density and they are not too busy or quiet. The streets will not provide a major distraction to the calm nature of the library, but there are enough people and cars to advertise the library. The average road density will also be helpful for people visiting the library because there will be enough places to park and enough room to fit the needs and spaces for the library.

Consider the climate and how it will impact the materials you choose, energy and natural resources to minimize the building’s impact on the environment. The climate is cold in the fall and winter and moderate in the summer, so I need materials that can handle the heat and the cold weather, including snow. I am going to include a solar panel roof so that it can generate energy to power the building in the summer and spring. It will be powered by gas in the winter and fall because of the cold weather that will not function with electrical power alone. Powering it by solar power for part of the year will help to provide for the cost of energy for the building and it will be friendly and have less impact on the environment.

Develop Solutions

Make a list of all the unique spaces and features you plan to have in your library. Some of the unique spaces are a 3D makerspace, a workshop area, group and individual study rooms, a large circular auditorium, a 3-floor café with an elevator, a welcoming space, and innovation space, office spaces, conference rooms, and a seating and welcoming area.

Where is the sun located throughout the day? The sun is pointed toward the building for most of the day throughout all of the seasons. Because there is ample sunlight, I need to design some of the features of the building to utilize the energy that the sun provides and to conserve energy. I have decided to use materials that conserve the sun’s energy so that it can power the building for most of the year and be more cost efficient.

How can the indoor and outdoor areas of the library be positioned to take advantage of the sunlight for good lighting? The roof is designed to be a clear solar panel roof which will take advantage of the sunlight that hits the building for most of the year. It will also be able to provide a large portion of the energy for the building, which will be efficient and cost effective. There will also be greenhouses which will be able to grow plants by the sunlight and provide the library with a calm outdoor space that can be used by the people in the community.

Final Design

How does your design benefit the local community? The design benefits the local community because it provides Little Italy with a place for the people to come together. Visitors can easily access the library where they can concentrate on modern and future research and innovation while in the historic neighborhood. This modern, yet transitional building benefits the people because it provides a place for the members in the community to escape the stress of life and come together for a time of innovation and interaction with each other. It will allow the members in the community to have nearby access to computers, books, research material, technology, and gathering spaces. This is no ordinary library. This library will contain computer labs, reading spaces, group and individual study rooms, 3D printers, and a makerspace workshop. It will also include a large café, an auditorium, a community area, garden, and outside reflection space. The resources and opportunities available in this modern and technology friendly place will help the community strengthen and evolve out of its historic background and continue to thrive.

What materials have you included in your design and why? I have included a clear solar panel roof to collect the energy from the sun to provide the energy for the building. I have included a polycarbonate greenhouse because it is an efficient material for a greenhouse and because it has a larger R-factor than glass. I used glass curtain walls for the exterior walls in the building because glass allows for light to come in which would reduce the electrical and power costs of the building during the day. I used transparent walls to give the interior of the building a modern effect while also including a clear torus for the circulation desk and the walkway from each building. The walls that are on the sides of the book shaped buildings are made of reinforced concrete because it is an efficient material and it provides the strength of the building compared to the use of glass in the other parts of the building. I included a clear elevator in the café that is made of glass to add the aesthetic appearance because people can look outside the elevator when riding it and visitors in the café can see the waiters bringing their food to them.


Competition Jury 3 years ago
Very cool design concept. Doesn't fit very well on the site as currently situated. Would love to see this brought up to Taylor Street. -AR