Text description provided by the architects. A multiple award winner for design excellence and sustainability, the Ballard Library and Neighborhood Service Center offers a dramatic face along the street and an extended front porch gathering space for its neighborhood. Designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, the building is located on a gently sloping site diagonally across from a new city park and leads toward Ballard’s center one block away. Follow the break for further project description, photographs, and drawings of the new library.
Tapered steel columns support a lilting roof that extends beyond the entrance and unites the library and service center components. The planted roof turns upward at the north, allowing light into the building, its edges softened by wood purlins that extend beyond its perimeter.
Glazed walls and skylights provide transparency deep into the public areas of the building. The glass skin bends around the corners, marking the children’s area and service center lobby as special places. A public meeting room clad in galvanized shingles anchors the northwestern corner of the site. Rectangular, color-stained cedar boxes containing support spaces are aligned on east-west axes. A periscope integrated into a wall adjacent to the circulation desk offers patrons views to the green roof.
By giving careful consideration to building systems and components, and seeking multiple functions for each of the program elements, the Ballard Library and Neighborhood Service Center demonstrates that green building can be feasible within a modest budget. The library’s mission and use offer an opportunity to educate the community in the richness and benefits of combining sustainable design and extraordinary architecture.