Structural: Alpha Consulting Engineers
Mep: DBR Engineering
Civil Engineers: MTR Engineers
Library Director: Kelly Skovbjerg
Text description provided by the architects. The Patrick Heath Public Library was designed to support a goal of providing the community a sense of belonging and connection to the environment. A priority for the building is to provide a comfortable space for reading, viewing and listening for pleasure and lifelong learning. The sole library in Boerne, Texas, a community just west of San Antonio, exists in harmony with the city’s renowned bucolic surroundings.
The LEED Gold certified library was purposefully sited along a creek to be enveloped by a park-like setting to the east which gives library visitors an opportunity to enjoy that natural area, a precious sight in parched Central Texas. The building includes expansive windows on the eastern side that showcase the creek, stately Live Oak trees, and wooded Hill Country vistas beyond. The architects oriented many of the programmed spaces, such as the internet cafe, quiet room, meeting rooms, reading areas, and a screened-in balcony eastward to highlight the unbroken panoramic landscape, keeping service desks and support areas necessarily near the main entrance on the western side.
Outdoor seating arrangements and terraces encourage readers to take activities outside in pleasant weather. In this sunny climate, building shade structures and preserving the existing leafy Live Oaks was essential to designing usable outdoor space. Materials provide a subtler connection to the region: indigenous limestone comprises both exterior and interior walls and reclaimed regional Longleaf Pine is used in pivot walls that enhance functionality. Cisterns tie the creekside views back to the importance of water conservation. In these ways, the library succeeds in connecting Boerne to its most striking feature: the celebrated Texas Hill Country that begins right outside its windows.