Anacostia Library

District of Columbia Public Library

Washington, DC

Project Info
Anacostia Library
Washington, DC
Completion Date: 2010
Square Footage: 22,348

2013 AIA/ALA Library Building Award
2012 National Organization of Minority Architects Design Excellence Honor Award
2012 AIA North Carolina Honor Award
2012 AIA DC Award of Merit in Architecture
2012 IIDA/ALA Library Interior Design Award
2011 AIA Triangle Honor Award
2011 Library Journal New Landmark Libraries Honorable Mention
2011 Architectural Lighting Design Award
2010 AIA North Carolina Committee on the Environment Award

The small-scale residential context provided the inspiration for the design of this new branch library, located in a low-income, underserved neighborhood in Washington, D.C. The project not only fulfilled programmatic needs but also provided a stimulus for community pride and economic development.

The residential scale is reflected in the library design as a series of pavilions for program areas that require enclosure: the children’s program room, the young adults’ area, support spaces, and public meeting rooms. The remainder of the level one plan is high, open space for the main reading room, stacks, computers, and public seating areas. A large green roof structure provides shelter over all program areas.

Community input was also a key part of the design process. Users made it clear they wanted an open, welcoming building. The large front plaza invites pedestrians to come in, and the floor-to-ceiling glass on all sides provides passersby a clear view into the building. The building and site work together as a classroom for sustainable features and education about ecological systems, including a rain garden.