MPLA: Environmental Building Designs

DWL Architects + Planners, Inc. with Jeremy Jones – contrasting designs from Scottsdale’s Appaloosa Branch, Glendale’s West Branch and Maricopa County’s White Tank libraries.

www.dwlarchitects.com | SessionPresentation | All MPLA Handouts

Current Design Strategies from DWL handout (shared with permission):

  • Combine Ideas into a United Concept
  • Find Your way without signs
  • Create Landmarks – like public art
  • Make furniture fun and handy
  • Provide learning objects
  • Partial dividers create soft divisions
  • Quiet rooms for traditional readers
  • Noisy rooms for active learners
  • Tuck activities around the corner – flow between spaces
  • Consider a cafe
  • Provide additional space by dividing – movable furniture to change size and function
  • Add interest to your lounge – cyber cafe, piano

Began the process by trying to understand what the library is all about and how the librarian wants the new building to run.

Power isles – bookstore model – How does the library work?

Foothills branch – use a curve to separate the kids from adults. Also, all the windows face north. Japanese influence. Light sculpture added, too.

Glendale West – North light on a southwest wall – wavey roof, but walls set so north-facing windows. Teens split off immediately upon entering the library. Children’s at the back. Building Information Modeling – make a computer model combining shade, air flow and orientation. Balanced light.

Handling West exposure – White Tank – pre-conceived plan and floorplan – Includes Nature Center (so free property), staff area provides easy access, but ‘library’ is flexible and View out of all windows = mountain range. LEED Platinum – saves $20,000 a year, adds electricity to the grid. Includes ‘shade fins’ and built with structure of a safeway store so less expensive. Think about the entire site to enhance the project? Flash floods, parking lot, and tilt-up concrete for walls with green from the environment, white roof, saved plants in a nursery near site and water purification system.¬† On roof – grant to cover photo cells/sun roof. Efficiency improved quickly.

Starting with a Functional Plan

Conversation between two architects with very different styles, and went into the interview with a giant book “we wrote the book on libraries” (library-centric)

Site lines, enter and have a decision point – staff to the right, meeting rooms to the right and library straight ahead with angled stacks with a view out the back window.

Adobe building + parasol + shadow of roof cuts sunlight to the south. Shoved building into the ground on west end (berm and block west sun and fill it with mechanicals) and reflective skin, drive thru window, narrow slit window in staff area with an overhang, carpet to help with sound, metal decking has holes that help dampen sound.

Roof floating above ‘mass wall’ in the background, wall coating repels heat – “a mirage” – silver, purple, green it changes color

Only 3 points for innovation in the LEED checklist – drawback of the program

Heat trapped between skin and the wall rises up and away from the building (but no points) – repels infrared light (the mirage coating) – LEED will eventually melt into building codes.

Vines grow up mesh to shade a bridge/walkway. Roof extension creates beneficial shadows and a patio. Floodwater flows around the library – aroyo.

Concrete floor as finish – sprinkled black rock in the concrete for texture, grind smooth and buff. Display of the environmental issues = got points – people get it

Interiors – corridor used as a light fixture – light spread evenly – Underfloor electronics raise floor only 1 1/2 inches!

Exposed ceilings and perferated deck and carpet – white ceilings cut glare – lights that send some light up and some down, you get a good glow

Local Information Station – walk up to the station alone or with a customer – no ‘desk to cage the librarian’ – with led lights attached to shelves, overhead lights can be turned off. Shelves are ‘fixtures’ – unplug, move, plug back in.

“Morse code” wall – too much glare, had to cut the glass wall, cost savings to have a short window and long window in pattern

See through the rows – sight lines – also include seating area for relaxing

View from the road – see the activity from the road through the windows – FREE advertising

Ductwork in the ceiling is 2 x as big as normal – so air is soundless – characteristics of air known to experienced architects

Sound-sensitive things were enclosed, rest of the library is wide open. Quiet areas, training lab, study room, etc. Young people used to multi-tasking in noisy environments.

Glass wall to separate teens from rest of the library, short wall, but helps psychologically – adults use it during the day.

Movable furniture with fewer rooms – dividers and a lock that blocks sound going over the faux wall. Meeting/storytime/simple multi-use room

Birgion children’s furniture out of Pheonix – children’s exhibits on wheels – activity walls

Seating for adults and kids in the kids area

Sorghum, Paper, Tires and Other recyclables as finishes – cafes have to have huge volume to be viable, so use vending machines. 85% green products aren’t – it’s just marketing

Use Outdoor spaces – patios, good landscaping/architecture, with trees for shade 5-6 months a year. Performances on the plaza – clubby effect. Tried to change city standards to accomodate the project.

(my thoughts – consider adding a playground, picnic tables, or garden.)

Environmental elements combined to make a sculptural effect – pretty building = positive emotional response.

Technology used to help with staffing – RF check in technology reused from another library

Flexible staff areas and make staff areas feel professional and look good

Recycled glass products – bathrooms – glass tiles with white adhesive and reused bottle glass for bathroom. Recycled art, too – public art project – recycled glass tumbleweeds are hit by the light at 6 pm and makes them glow.

Environmental design adds interest and creates excitement

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