Text description provided by the architects. Benning Library is located on a sloped site along Benning Road, N.E. The building is terraced into the terrain allowing access from both Benning Road at the upper level and from a commercial shopping area at the lower level. The two floors of the facility are connected by a public stair inside the building, creating a space which encourages pedestrian circulation through the library in order to connect one street elevation to another. Benning Library utilizes a warm color palette of earth tones and a copper panel facade to complement its residential setting. Approximately 315 copper panels chosen for the exterior reflect the sun and provide a warm glow in the late afternoon.
The completed facility includes community spaces on the lower level including a 100-person multi-purpose room, two 12-person conference rooms and a public gathering and exhibition space. The upper level of the library houses the library’s collection, which on opening day included 40,000 books, DVDs, CDs and other library materials. The library has space to allow the collection to expand to up to 80,000 items. Additionally, the upper level features separate reading areas for adults, teens and children, as well as the children’s program area. Five small study rooms offer opportunities for quiet study or tutoring sessions. The library has 32 computers for public use.
Designed to meet LEED Silver Certification, Benning Library incorporates a vegetative green roof, a displacement air system, solar control and daylight management and extensive use of recyclable and renewable materials. The quality and nature of light was an important factor in the design approach. The library is situated in a bowl-like condition with ample southern exposure.