Charleston Branch | New York Public Library -- Staten Island, New York

10,000 SF | Net Zero high performance facility | information commons | community rooms | adult reading room | children’s reading room | young adult reading room | LEED Gold
Inspired by the cultural connections to its site in Charleston Staten Island, a century old craftsmen community known for brick and terra cotta manufacturing, the library is conceived as a stylized brick vessel for information and community gathering. The exterior is clad in a textured roman brick whose non-standard composition highlights and pays homage to the former crafted manufacturing traditions of this community. Openings in the brick facades are created by removing the brick and trimming the openings with glass bead blasted stainless steel. A civic-scaled stainless steel portal announces the library entrance. The library is unusually located in a familiar American suburban condition of a retail big box store shopping complex. It is bordered on two sides by asphalt parking lots and two sides by a New York City Park. The library addresses these conditions by creating a community plaza and entry portal off the parking making an urban room as a threshold between the parking and library. Internally, the library spaces are oriented toward the park. The Charleston Branch of the New York Public Library is a Net Zero high performance building and the first net zero library in New York City. The building’s high-performance characteristics are enabled by enhanced building envelope construction, an all-electric non-fossil fuel energy source and photovoltaic electric cells. This project meets the sustainable goals of the City of New York’s 80 x 50 program whereby the City intends to reduce 80 percent carbon emission by 2050.