I can be a sucker for libraries, but this one’s got a lot going for it: bold forms, luminous troughs of airy space, a marriage of the rough and the refined, expressive detailing, and an interplay that compliments nearby structures without mimicking them.
There’s a clarity too that lets the building speak for itself in many ways. The building is organized around its three naves, each fronted by expansive windows that themselves double as benches for passers-by outside.
I love this interchange between the readers inside, looking out towards the town square, and the curious pedestrians, who can see the books (and the readers) within as they pause in their day.
The naves themselves are quite exquisite, as the rhythmic wooden slats form a scrim for translucent panels, letting a warm glow suffuse the reading areas. I particularly like how the bookshelves form both the edges of the stairways, the reading areas, and, spatially, an extension of the nave above.
Built by local woodworking artisans, it’s superb craft coupled with fine design, and a new beacon for a town devastated by the earthquakes and tsunami of 2010. Great stuff.