The three year wait is over for bookworms in Elmhurst, New York and the wait was worth it. The major renovation and expansion of the new Elmhurst Library is finally complete and open to the public!
The new 32,000 square-foot Elmhurst Library building doubles the size from the previous building and is expected to attract over 1.2 million visitors a year – making it one of the busiest libraries in the nation.
The new facility is a part of the Queens Library network. It provides state-of-the-art technology and inviting, comfortable spaces with careful attention to curb appeal. With the addition of many new amenities, it is one of the most user-friendly libraries in the New York City area.
The original library was an Andrew Carnegie-constructed facility that opened in 1906 and many of the features from that building were woven into the heart of the new design. Those amenities include a memory wall, a learning garden, historic photographs and a children’s fireplace from 1906.
The final plan included modernizing the facility to attract old and new visitors alike. The new building stands tall with the contemporary buildings, while engaging the small scale of historical structures from the early days of Queen’s villages with two glazed reading rooms.
The Park Reading Room at the center of building visually joins the park and garden, while the Broadway Reading Room overlooks the activity on the street, engaging passersby with artist Allan McCollum’s 20-foot x 20-foot “Shapes” wall installation.
Under the design management of New York-based Marpillero Pollak Architects and construction supervised by Stalco, the new library at 86-01 Broadway is four floors of knowledge.
It features separate adult, teen and children’s library spaces, a computer work station complete with 43 desktops and 12 laptops, an adult learning center, an interior reading atrium, and a pair of gardens.
The architects and management team selected W&W Glass for the intricate exterior glasswork.
The design professionals helped the architect to come up with a plan to use structural glass jewel-boxes as an attractive feature from the street, while allowing natural light to highlight the interior that houses more than 75,000 books and multimedia for children and adults in English, and 36,000 books and multimedia in nine different languages.
Glaziers from W&W installed Pilkington Planar™ point-supported structural glass comprised of heavy-duty Pilkington Optiwhite™ low-iron insulating glass units with HP 69/37 Low-e on the #2 surface and insulating units with added custom white, silk-screened “frit” vertical lines on the #3 surface to provide excellent thermal performance and glare control.
For the roof return glass, the company selected Pilkington Optiwhite™ low-iron insulating PVB laminated glass with HP 69/37 Low-e on the #2 surface and white, silk-screened “frit” vertical lines on the #3 surface. The face glass was supported by cantilevered Pilkington Optiwhite™ low-iron SentryGlas® laminated glass fins as the main support structure.
Other features include terra cotta cladding, insulating metal panels, and brickwork as seen from the Broadway entrance. As a High Performance Pilot Project and Active Design Case Study, the building is designed to achieve a LEED Silver rating.
Even though the delays were lengthy, the end result proves that when cities invest in libraries, they invest in the future of the boroughs and the city as a whole.