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  1. ArchDaily
  2. Projects
  3. Library
  4. United States
  5. Fougeron Architecture
  6. 2009
  7. Ingleside Branch Library / Fougeron Architecture

Ingleside Branch Library / Fougeron Architecture

  • 01:00 - 22 December, 2009
Ingleside Branch Library / Fougeron Architecture
Ingleside Branch Library / Fougeron Architecture, © Joe Fletcher
© Joe Fletcher

© Joe Fletcher © Joe Fletcher © Joe Fletcher © Joe Fletcher +30

  • Architects

  • Location

    San Francisco, CA, United States
  • Architect

    Fougeron Architecture / Group 4 Architecture
  • Public Artwork

    Eric Powell
  • Client

    San Francisco Public Library
  • Contractor

    CLW Builders
  • Construction Manager

    San Francisco Department of Public Works
  • Project Year

  • Photographs

From the architect. This design for this branch library won a national competition held by the San Francisco Public Library in 2002 and construction was completed in September 2009. Located on an Ocean Avenue corner lot, the design consists of a main reading room, children’s reading room, community room, staff support space and an outdoor garden. Adhering to the urban grid, the L-shaped scheme allows the main reading room and community room volumes to flank and define a central courtyard. The exterior has two major architectural elements: an egg-shaped room and the high canopy roof.

© Joe Fletcher
© Joe Fletcher

The most striking element of the front façade, positioned prominently at the corner, is an egg-shaped children’s reading room with a large, bench-seat window that puts its user’s activities on display and encourages use of the library by younger patrons. The children’s room is capped by a high canopy roof, extending over the entry and the lower community room volume along Ocean Avenue. This roof strengthens the civic presence of the one-story structure, given the context of taller adjacent buildings. Its sky-blue underside is up-lit, providing unobtrusive security lighting to the entry and sidewalk below, while the height of the canopy is designed to optimize future photovoltaic panels.

© Joe Fletcher
© Joe Fletcher

Inside, the spaces are designed to fuse historic interpretations of libraries as “temples of knowledge” with more common associations of books with the marketplace popularized by Borders and the like. In the main reading room, floor to ceiling books line the walls; regular circulation fills the lower shelves, while shelving above seven feet are filled with old books and artifacts donated by members of the community. The sloped ceiling of the space is capped with giant skylights coaxing sunlight deep into the room. Facing the courtyard, mahogany-clad carrels offer quite, intimate spaces to read and relax. Benches are built into the glass edges creating a simple and elegant relationship between courtyard and interior spaces.

© Joe Fletcher
© Joe Fletcher

Most importantly, this new branch library facilitates a central gathering space and enhances access to important resources for the neighborhood, while playing an essential role in the revitalization of Ocean Avenue. The robust, light-filled, and sustainable architectural design highlights the virtues and aspirations of this community: valuing the accessibility of knowledge and education to everyone.

© Joe Fletcher
© Joe Fletcher

High roof canopy. The double roof along Ocean Avenue effectively shields the south-facing program room volume below from excess heat gain. Its orientation and high position is designed and intended to house future photovoltaic panels.

© Joe Fletcher
© Joe Fletcher

Courtyard. The courtyard is strategically located adjacent to a future playground for greater aggregate outdoor space to be enjoyed by everyone in the community. The building flanks the courtyard, shielding it from street noise and prevailing winds. Also, native landscaping is used for community education as well as reduced irrigation needs.

© Joe Fletcher
© Joe Fletcher

Natural daylight. The main reading room is flooded with ample natural light primarily from three large south-facing light monitors. The interior ceiling is precisely sculpted and sloped for maximum admission of sunlight with even distribution. Overhangs at the reading carrels as well as at the street facing windows are calculated to shade interior spaces from excessive heat gain in the summer while allowing natural light to penetrate deep into the interior space during the winter. These architectural features reduce the need for artificial lighting and raise the comfort level of patrons.

© Joe Fletcher
© Joe Fletcher

Efficient artificial lighting. The required artificial lighting primarily uses high efficiency, dimmable, T-5 fluorescent tubes.  The lighting is directed upward to the light colored ceiling, which reflects the light back down for better color rendition. Commonly found incandescent recessed cans are eliminated and the dimmable ballasts allow staff to adjust light levels as necessary for greater energy savings.

© Joe Fletcher
© Joe Fletcher

Heating system. Hydronic radiant baseboard heaters allow for the elimination of ductwork. and are typically hidden within the bookshelf kicks. The energy usage is significantly lower and more efficient than the traditional forced air system.  The quality of heat is also more uniform and comfortable for the patrons.

© Joe Fletcher
© Joe Fletcher

Operable glazing for ventilation. The long L-shaped volumes allow cross ventilation from the streets to the courtyard through operable glazing. Also, within the main reading room, operable glazing is located low while automatic louvers are located high within the skylight volume to facilitate stack ventilation. Therefore, the naturally occurring pressure differential is utilized to expel excess heat without the need for air conditioning.

© Joe Fletcher
© Joe Fletcher

Low VOC & sustainable finishes. Every effort has been made to ensure the highest interior air quality and responsible use of finish materials. The interior paint and other interior finishes are all specified as low VOC.  Wall and ceiling insulation is formaldehyde free denim, and floor finishes are linoleum.

© Joe Fletcher
© Joe Fletcher
Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: "Ingleside Branch Library / Fougeron Architecture" 22 Dec 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>
Read comments


yuji haniyuda · April 02, 2011

Ingleside Branch Library / Fougeron Architecture | ArchDaily via @archdaily

Allan · April 02, 2011

People's taste differs so much. I like the colour and think that the volume would seem funny without the shading. It would be too naked.
I like the project

S.Jahangiri · October 22, 2010

Quite elegant project and an efficient layout. I also appreciate the direct relationship between each interior space and the outdoor courtyard. What an uplifting space to read and study in...

We must remember that "big flashy curvy" projects do not always equate to a successful building. The simplicity of this library is what makes it special.

In my opinion the spatial organization of plan and the skylights are the best qualities of the design, though I do agree with Fino about the "fence" looking shading device :) It would be nice if the exterior matched the refinement shown in plan and section- however even with that said, nice project. It can't be 100% perfect, right? :)

Sophie Qiu · October 09, 2010

Ingleside Branch Library / Fougeron Architecture | ArchDaily via @archdaily

Chet Domanski · February 24, 2010

City of Edmonton Highlands Library could look like this. There is 5.5 million out there for someone to build it.

Mm · January 01, 2010

The best thing is not project but the 3D. Is this our future?

sullka · January 06, 2010 10:42 PM

uh? what 3d are you talking about?

Anyways, excelent project.

Personally, I would have done different just 2 things:

1- Use a different color for the "egg" volume (beacon).

2- Add to the program an outdoor cafe, you could rent the space and pay for maintenance with it, being able to use that second level above the classroom under that roof is an amazing but missed opportunity.

brian · December 23, 2009

There are some nice interior qualities, but the exterior treatment is unfortunately bulky and mashed together. Not your best work Fougeron.

Arquipablo · December 23, 2009

In just four words.....great, great great, GREAT!

Squidly · December 23, 2009

crystal clear plan! very nice

Fino · December 23, 2009

I would love this even more, if I were to get a ladder and knock off that fence-like shading device that's hanging off that wonderful floating detached roof. It's not doing much, and it should go.

theChavacano · December 23, 2009

Mmm te gusta cualquier cosa que este en USA?

Dannyel · December 23, 2009

mmmmm.... ok me gusta!!!!
eso es obvio estando en usa!! como siempre....
= como siempre saludos desde méxico

Home Decor News · December 22, 2009

Ingleside Branch Library / Fougeron Architecture

Kevin Parent · December 22, 2009

RT @archdaily: Ingleside Branch Library / Fougeron Architecture

Actualizacion FEEDS · December 22, 2009

ArchDaily: Ingleside Branch Library / Fougeron Architecture

Bocetos Digitales · December 22, 2009

Ingleside Branch Library / Fougeron Architecture: © Joe FletcherArchitect: Fougeron Architecture / Group 4 Archite...

Architecture+Molding · December 22, 2009

Ingleside Branch Library / Fougeron Architecture: © Joe FletcherArchitect: Fougeron Architecture / Group 4 Archite...


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© Joe Fletcher

Ingleside Branch Library