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Project Archive

Anacosta Library
June 02, 2012

Location: Washington, DC
Lead Architect: Freelon
Information: www.freelon.com
Square Footage: 23,000

The design of Washington DC’s Anacostia Neighborhood Library is a response to the residential character of one of the district’s oldest neighborhoods. Configured as a series of pavilions set into a larger glass volume, the library establishes a sense of scale and hierarchy that complements its residential context. A large, green perforated roof shelters the glass-enclosed reading room and unites the pavilions positioned along its edges.

The 23,000 sf program for the Library is organized around the main reading room which overlooks a broad entrance plaza. Surrounding the reading room, program components that require enclosure, such as the Young Adult’s Area, the Children’s Program Room and various staff support spaces, are housed in pavilions. The perforated roof form folds down along the west facade to provide sun-shading while visually tying together the massing composition. Resolving a 12-foot drop in elevation across the site, the building has entrances at both levels: the main entry at Good Hope Road and a secure access to the community meeting room from the lower level.

Sustainable Design Integration
The  interrelationship of various building elements is critical to the success of a sustainable project. The size and shape of building fenestration has an impact on views, daylight, heat gain, user comfort, and mechanical systems. Often, decisions made regarding one sustainable strategy has a pro or con effect on another. This forces the architect to think more holistically about the design.

This LEED Gold project stands as a teaching tool for patrons.  It utilizes descriptive text placards, information handouts, and tours.  The selection and development of this Brownfield site, boosted levels of community and transportation connectivity.  Low-flow water fixtures, solar hot water collectors, and an inhabitable bioretention pond, support a responsible water usage agenda. Underfloor air distribution is used for its efficiency in conditioning tall spaces and to give users more thermal comfort control.  Daylight harvesting is also a noticeable and salient feature throughout. Selecting sustainable materials did not significantly increase costs.  Ultimately, the design, energy, and lighting strategies employed in this library resulted in an energy savings close to 25%.

Proper execution of the design intent and close coordination through construction resulted in sustainability placed on equal footing with other critical construction activities. These approaches resulted in a streamlined certification process, an environmentally sensitive project, and ultimately a satisfied owner.