St. Louis, MO
Separating County Library functions into two new powerhouse
destinations for employees, students, families, and authors.
St. Louis County Library’s original headquarters had evolved over 60+ years to support the entire 20-branch district operations. However, the expansion and heavy use of the community’s services and patrons resulted in a greater need for better efficiencies and updated infrastructure. Through analysis and programming of the existing headquarters site and building, the design team recommended separating its functions into two new buildings, the administrative and branch library buildings. This decision allows the County’s program to expand and grow into the next 60 years.
Libraries aren’t only quiet places for books anymore; they have evolved into vibrant communities and gathering places. Therefore, the building needs to be flexible to allow for growth and change as the patron needs evolve. The SLCL district houses a collection of over 3 million unique items that support creativity and exploration through hands-on learning and reading. Checking out sewing machines, craft kits, musical instruments, and chrome books has become the standard for a robust library district such as the SLCL.
Careful placement of the Clark Family Branch on the nearly 8-acre site was critical to ensuring patron safety. Designing parking solutions that fit the many outdoor tented events helped shape the final building location with outdoor areas such as a reading garden and balcony for fresh air and natural light.
The design expression of the building pulls from the 19 other branches that have transitioned over the past ten years. As the Grand Finale for the County, this building rests in the middle of the district as an elegant stone, glass, and steel structure that will become the heart of the community.