UNIONDALE PUBLIC LIBRARY, UNIONDALE, NY - Recently completed, the Uniondale Public Library is an addition to and renovation of an existing suburban library. The original exposed concrete, brick and glass building, completed in the 1960’s, has been increased in size by over one hundred percent. Our understated addition surrounds the existing building on the west and north sides, allowing the renovated original to function as the beacon in the neighborhood it once was.
The architectural challenges we confronted in the project were diverse, ranging from the practical limitations of the site and the original library building to the community’s desire for a symbolic continuity with their history by retaining the prominence and strength of the original modern structure.
The community’s appreciation of the exterior of the original building extended to the interior, specifically the abundance of natural light that flowed in from clerestories above. Our addition includes two reading rooms – one for adults, one for children – that pierce the new brick skin to allow dappled natural light to stream in while simultaneously encouraging views out through full height glass. The glass of the reading rooms purposely contrasts with the more textured brick skin surrounding them to emphasize their importance on the exterior. At night the new reading rooms glow from within to create additional beacons on all sides of the building. New technical services offices in the addition are naturally lighted by a continuous clerestory to recall those of the original building. On the exterior, these new clerestories are clad in lead-coated copper and sit atop low brick walls. The texture and color of the brick below contrasts with the weathered grey above, while both materials share the enviable trait of the ability to age with grace.