Hunters Point Library / Steven Holl Architects

Hunters Point Library / Steven Holl Architects

© Paul Warchol © Paul Warchol Courtesy of Steven Holl Architects © Paul Warchol + 29

Queens, United States
  • Project Architect

    Filipe Taboada
  • Project Architect CA

    Suk Lee
  • Project Team

    Bell Ying Yi Cai, Rychiee Espinosa, JongSeo Lee, Maki Matsubayashi, Michael Rusch, Dominik Sigg, Yasmin Vobis, Jeanne Wellinger
  • Landscape Architect

    Michael Van Valkenburgh and Associates
  • Structural Engineer

  • MEP Engineer

    ICOR Associates
  • Lighting Design

    L’Observatoire International
  • Leed Consultant

    ADS Engineers
  • Civil Engineer

    Langan Engineering & Environmental Services
  • Fire Technical Consultant

    Rolf Jensen & Assoc.
  • Cost Estimator

    Davis Langdon
  • Specifications

    Construction Specifications Inc.
  • Climate Engineers

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Courtesy of Steven Holl Architects
Courtesy of Steven Holl Architects

Text description provided by the architects. Located on a prominent site along the East River, against the backdrop of rapidly built skyscraper condominiums, the 22,000 square foot Queens Public Library at Hunters Point stands as a public building and public park, bringing community-devoted space to the Long Island City waterfront. Resisting recent trends of incorporating public libraries and much-needed social space within high- end residential towers, the Hunters Point Library stands independently, rising with a minimal footprint on its 32,000 square foot site to offer maximum surrounding green space to the local community and becoming an integrated part of the vibrant public park that lines the river’s edge.

© Paul Warchol
© Paul Warchol

The vertical structure reimagines the traditional library model, providing a diversity of spaces from intimate reading areas to active gathering spaces. The building’s aluminum-painted concrete shell is not just a facade but a load-bearing structure, which omits curtain walls and columns. Sculpted cuts are carved out of the facade, showing the movement of people within and framing expansive views of the Manhattan skyline. 

Courtesy of Steven Holl Architects
Courtesy of Steven Holl Architects
Site plan
Site plan
© Paul Warchol
© Paul Warchol

The program's separation into children's area, teen area, and adult area can be read in the sculpted cuts of the east face of the building, one facade opening for each area; yet the programmatic divisions are fluid. Inside, warm bamboo creates an inviting social space, open to the community and offering engaging spaces for all ages. Natural light enters through the large windows from all sides, animating the space.

Courtesy of Steven Holl Architects
Courtesy of Steven Holl Architects

The digital and the book are merged through the bookshelves and adjacent digital workstations that flow upward along with a series of open stairs. A ground-level auditorium under the main section provides public meeting and events space. The stairs switch back from the mezzanine to the mezzanine, connecting reading areas and concluding in a rooftop reading terrace with views of the city and the river.

Courtesy of Steven Holl Architects
Courtesy of Steven Holl Architects

While the plan is compact, the building section of the new library is open and flowing to allow for the most energy-efficient design and the greatest amount of public green space on the site. On the east entrance side, the library faces a reading garden bordered by a low park office pavilion with a bosque of ginkgo trees.  At night the glowing presence of the Hunters Point Library along the waterfront joins the Pepsi sign and the "Long Island" sign at the old Gantry to become a beacon for this new community place.

© Paul Warchol
© Paul Warchol

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Project location

Address: Queens, NY, United States

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
About this office
Cite: "Hunters Point Library / Steven Holl Architects" 25 Sep 2019. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884
© Paul Warchol

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