In Progress: Holl's Hunters Point Library

John Hill
30. September 2016
The east facade of the Hunters Point Community Library (All photographs by John Hill/World-Architects)

Yesterday, New York City's Queens Library held a topping-out ceremony for Hunters Point Community Library in Long Island City. Designed by Steven Holl Architects, the library is on track to open next summer. World-Architects attended the ceremony and got a peek inside the construction site.

Holl designed the building as a rectangular block punctuated by amoeba-like openings. Here the flag being lifted ceremoniously to the roof passes by one of those openings.
After the flag raising, Holl, local politicians, heads of the Queens Library, and staff from NYC's Department of Design and Construction signed the inside of one of the concrete walls.
The irregular openings on the outside reflect the complex section inside, where a number of multi-story spaces interlock for the different parts of the library: children's area, teen area and adult area. Here, a ramp bridges one of the openings facing east.
The west facade has the largest opening, its angle following the amphitheater-like stacks that rise from the ground floor. Here is the view from the outside and the inside, with Midtown Manhattan in the distance.
Here are a couple views of the amphitheater stacks...
...and a view out the opening.
Here is a smaller opening on the west facade...
...and the view of Manhattan from that opening. Holl noted in his remarks that the library could have covered the site at 1.5 floors, but he opted to create a Reading Garden and build the library up to capture views of Manhattan.
The complexity of the section and the relationship between the openings on the east and west facades is visible from the top floor of the library.
Looking up from the ground floor, one sees the underside of a curving wall...
...the curved wall wraps up to become the ceiling of a space with more amphitheater-like steps.
Mockups on the job site reveal the aluminum cladding that was planned for the exterior. Instead of this aluminum foam, the concrete walls will be covered in an aluminum paint, "giving the exterior a subtle sparkle," per the architect.

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