Snøhetta-designed Bronx library features a green glass facade inspired by trees

December 29, 2022

The Library’s fritted glass facade is wrapped in a graphic print inspired by the verdant tree canopies of The Bronx. Credit: © Snøhetta & LMNB

World-renowned architecture firm Snøhetta last week unveiled its design for a new library in the Bronx. The 12,000-square-foot Westchester Square Library, which will sit next to the historic Huntington Free Library on Glebe Avenue, will feature a striking green glass facade with abstract views of the neighborhood’s trees, a way to pay homage to the Bronx’s status as the city’s “greenest borough,” according to the firm. The library is being developed with the city’s Department of Design and Construction and the New York Public Library.

Credit: © Snøhetta & LMNB

The structural design of the library interior allows the most active areas of the building to be easily visible from the outside. At night, the library is designed to radiate light. The youth area will be visible to onlookers from the street as well as the elevated 6 train.

In addition to its striking green appearance, the library is also designed to be environmentally friendly. A new street-level garden serves as a water retention and filtration system that “combines the abstract facade design with the library’s environmental performance.” The garden will be planted with “shade-loving groundcovers and flowering trees,” which are appealing to the eye and build upon the library’s environmental sustainability.

“The Viewing Garden provides an understated counterpoint to the surrounding urban landscape,” Michelle Delk, Snøhetta Partner and Landscape Architecture Discipline Director, said in a press release. “As an extension of the library, the Garden absorbs rainwater into a verdant landscape while also bringing light and visual interest to the indoor experience.”

Other sustainable features include solar panels, rainwater recycling, a “high-performance envelope,” and other energy conservation measures, according to Archinect. The building is seeking to obtain a LEED Platinum certification.

The building’s fritted glass facade will be made to frame views of the surrounding blocks and filter sunlight to reduce overall energy consumption, according to Designboom.

The Westchester Square Library is located next to the 131-year-old Huntington Free Library, which opened its doors to the public in 1891 and over the course of its long history has compiled a vast collection of books and artifacts.

The building will include a sculptural installation by Shawn Smith, which was made possible through the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs’ Percent for Art initiative

Construction on the library will begin next year and is expected to be completed by 2025.


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  1. J

    that design is spectacular