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Watha T. Daniel-Shaw Library / Davis Brody Bond

  • Architects: Davis Brody Bond
  • Location: Washington, DC, USA
  • Architects: Davis Brody Bond Aedas
  • Co Lead Designers: Peter Cook, J. Max Bond
  • Project Team: Christiane DeJong, AIA, LEED AP, Nathan Hoyt, FAIA, Cody McNeal, LEED AP, Scott Phillips (no longer with firm), Kelly Powell (no longer with firm), Semaj Tucker (no longer with firm)
  • Structural & Civil Engineering: Delon Hampton
  • Lighting Consultant: MCLA
  • Landscape Architects: Lee and Associates
  • Contractor: Forrester Construction Company
  • Budget: $12,000,000
  • Area: 22800.0 ft2
  • Project Year: 2010
  • Photographs: Paúl Rivera, Davis Brody Bond Aedas

© Davis Brody Bond Aedas © Davis Brody Bond Aedas © Paúl Rivera © Davis Brody Bond Aedas

From the architect. Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Library is located along Rhode Island Avenue, NW at 7th Street, on a triangular urban site near Howard University. The new 22,800 square foot library marks this important intersection as a civic and educational node for the community. Filling the 9,850 square foot site, the building is comprised of three stories— one below grade and two above. The entry plaza at the east end of the site welcomes the public to the library and displays a 22 foot sculpture by local artist Craig Kraft. The main lobby provides access to the lower level which houses community spaces including a 100 person multi-purpose room, as well as access to the library proper. The ground floor houses the new materials and catalog stations for the general collections, the children’s library and the main service point and staff area. The upper level of the library will house the bulk of the adult collection, including reference and periodical sections, young adult and adult reading rooms. There will be online catalogs dispersed throughout the floor, with access to the DC Public Library electronic resources available at all locations. The library also offers two 10-person conference rooms and individual study rooms to allow for collaborative work in a non-disruptive setting.

© Davis Brody Bond Aedas
© Davis Brody Bond Aedas

Designed to meet LEED Silver Certification, Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Library incorporates a displacement air system, solar control and daylight management and extensive use of recyclable and renewable materials. The building utilizes a corrugated, perforated aluminum screen wall system across its southern façade. With a 40% open area, the screen wall sits 3 feet in front of an expansive glazed curtain wall and provides sufficient shading of the upper level reading room while allowing natural daylight to enter the space. The shading system allows a reduced dependence on artificial lighting and its related energy costs as well as protects the Library’s collection from harmful solar exposure.

© Davis Brody Bond Aedas
© Davis Brody Bond Aedas

Peter D. Cook, AIA, principal in charge of design at Davis Brody Bond Aedas states, “The Library will anchor the neighborhood by providing a civic facility rich in aesthetic, environmental and programmatic assets that is representative of DC Public Library’s commitment to a standard of excellence for all residents.”

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite:"Watha T. Daniel-Shaw Library / Davis Brody Bond" 21 Aug 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>