Architects: Perkins + Will
Location: Sammamish, WA, USA
Client: King County Library System
Civil and Structural Engineering: Coughlin Porter Lundeen
Space Planning: Design Perspectives
Cost Estimating: Davis Langdon
Landscape Architecture: Nakano Associates
Electrical Engineering: Sparling
Mechanical Engineering: Stantec
Contractor: Sierra Construction
Project area: 20,000 sq. ft.
Project year: 2010
Photographs: Courtesy of Perkins+Will
To accommodate the growing Sammamish community, the King County Library System commissioned a new 20,000 sf library that is located on the south edge of the City’s new Civic Plaza. Large expanses of glazing and active programmatic elements such as the meeting room, cyber bar, and teen area overlook the plaza. The library’s main reading room and stacks contain skylights and clerestories of translucent and clear vision glazing to create a warm and inviting space. The central reading space terminates in a great reading room that draws people to the western edge with views to the Sammamish Commons nature preserve, Olympic Peninsula, and Seattle skyline. A large fireplace with an architectural concrete finish provides an internal focus and gathering point that balances the views to the west. Wood clad elements mark a progression through the library, beginning at the entry lobby and continuing through the space to wrap the interior of the meeting room and the primary columns in the central space.
The children’s area overlooks the new eastern lawn which includes a reflexology path, native plantings, and a grove of birch trees. The site dimensions and the desire to create a long bounding edge to the City Plaza allowed the design team to investigate and implement an east to west building orientation. This orientation also allowed for the public entry, staff entry, and limited surface parking to be placed between the building’s south facade and property line while maintaining open spaces on the east and west sides of the building.
An L-shaped building mass containing the staff, stack and children’s area program frames the south and east sides of the site. This opaque element is wrapped in a distinctive serrated Trespa clad rain screen panel system. It is topped with a green roof planted with a geometric pattern of native sedums—visually tying it to the horizontal landscape planes of the site. Openings in this form are minimal with two exceptions, the corner entry and the children’s area glazing with its seating window that engage the visiting patrons to the site.
Sustainable design practices have been a top priority in the development of the site and the building. In order to reduce the impervious surface on the site, parking is located under the building with an elevator to access the library floor. In addition, the library’s lower roof is a green roof with low maintenance native sedum planting to reduce the water runoff from the roof. Water runoff from the exposed parking area will be infiltrated into the site through pervious surface parking and through an onsite rain garden. The new library will feature a highly insulated and efficient building envelope designed to reduce heat gain and loss while maximizing passive solar gain and daylighting.