Francis Gregory Library / Adjaye Associates

© Edmund Sumner

Architects: Adjaye Associates
Location: , DC, USA
Project Year: 2012
Photographs: Edmund Sumner

Project Area: 22,500 sqm
Structural Engineering: ReStl Designers, Inc.
Mechanical Engineering: Setty & Associates
Client: Capital Projects
Budget: U$ 13M

won an open competition to design two new neighbourhood libraries for the District of Columbia. The brief called for the new buildings to be flexible, accessible, welcoming and inviting. Resonating with the Idea Stores in London’s Tower Hamlets, the libraries challenge the traditional closed typology, introducing a social element that establishes a strong urban and cultural remit.

© Edmund Sumner

The sketch-like quality of the 22,500 SF Francis Gregory Library suggests a woodland folly – a building that is a pavilion within Fort Davis Park. Views of the park are framed from within, while the exterior of the building both reflects and complements the dense composition of trees and the striking natural environment. Viewed from the street, the building appears to flicker with the changing light, providing a lens through which to see into the park. The two-storey library provides space for three major library services: adults, teenagers and children. There is also a public meeting room and conference rooms.

© Edmund Sumner

Achieving LEED Silver, the design strategy is highly sustainable, with the building taking advantage of the natural vegetation, maximizing the winter sun exposure and controlling the summer sun with a large canopy over the pavilion. The canopy welcomes the public inside, providing an effective transitional space from the street. The structural system is articulated in the reflective geometric façade that supports the curtain wall and roof, while the network of quadrilateral openings continue inside and frame the views of the park. A number of windows are deep set to enable seating within the aperture, itself, encouraging visitors toward the perimeter of the building to reflect and enjoy the views. The material palette inside the building is largely timber – again, resonating with the woodland setting.

© Edmund Sumner

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Francis Gregory Library / Adjaye Associates" 30 Jul 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 May 2015. <>
  • bill bill

    Looks like a return to form for adjaye.

  • цarьchitect

    I visited this today, and it is superb. It’s so subtle, these photographs do not convey how good it feels and how well it works.