2012-06-22 / Community

New Far Rockaway Library Design Presented To CB 14

By Miriam Rosenberg

Architect Craig Dykers in front of a rendering of the shape of the new Far Rockaway Library, which features a triangular entrance. Photos by Miriam Rosenberg. Architect Craig Dykers in front of a rendering of the shape of the new Far Rockaway Library, which features a triangular entrance. Photos by Miriam Rosenberg. The new Far Rockaway Library will be twice the size of the current one, allow in more light and be a building that will allow for expansion in the future.

That is what architect Craig Dykers of the Snohetta architectural firm told Community Board 14 members when the Queens Library gave the community a first look at plans for the new building.

The new library will be built on the site of the current one at the corner of Mott and Cornaga Avenues. Some of its outstanding features include a triangular entrance that will allow people to see all three floors, simultaneously – ground floor, the teen area on the second floor and the adult area on the third floor – before entering. The majority of the glazed glass that would surround the building would have patterns on it.

Dykers shows that the new library will have a larger footprint (solid black line). Dykers shows that the new library will have a larger footprint (solid black line). “The massing is a simple volume clad in fritted, colored glass, with a gradient of color and variation reminiscent of the sky off the coast of Long Island,” said Dykers. He added, “The combination of transparency and translucency of the glazed façade provides an awareness of the activity within from the street as well as a degree of privacy for occupants of the library.”

Dykers also said, “We are trying to reduce power consumption by bringing more light into the building.”

To do that the design will allow for more natural light to enter the building.

The architect added, “The central atrium space allows the penetration of natural light to the ground floor within the interior of the deep floor plate, as well as a view of the sky from within the building. The inverted pyramid collects sunlight with the widest point at the top, narrowing towards the bottom, where the bulk of the program is located.”

Future expansion will be possible by not using all of the space that currently will be available. Dykers said the plans take into account the “library of the future … a building that has to accept future trends we can’t anticipate.”

Sharon Anderson, the head librarian at the Far Rockaway Library, reacted to the presentation.

“They hit the mark,” said Anderson. “I like the lights and the skyline. We’re dark now. There’s a lot of space [in the plans] and we need space. I think it’s good for the community. I think the community is going to love it.”

With the new library featuring a teen area, Jennifer Manley, the director of government and community affairs for the Queens Library, addressed the future of the Teen Library in Far Rockaway.

“We’re planning on keeping the Teen Library through the lease on the building,” said Manley, who added the Queens Library will then assess the situation if the needs for the facility will change.

The New York City Department of Design and Construction project has two more design phases to go through. According to Joanne King, a spokesperson for the Queens Library, groundbreaking is at least 18 months away.

In a recent email King laid out the timeline for the project.

“The plans [presented at the community board meeting] will now go to the city’s Design Commission at the end of this month. Assuming that all is well …the architects will start doing detailed drawings and blueprints, and it goes back to the Design Commission for a final sign-off. That work will take 9-12 months, probably until summer 2013.

“Then they have to go through the bidding process. During that time, we will also identify and outfit a temporary space for the library. The bidding will take nine months (spring 2014). By summer 2014 (hopefully), the library will have moved into a temporary home and construction will be underway. Public service begins in the new building in the winter of 2015/2016.”

No decision has been made on where the temporary quarters for the Far Rockaway Library will be while the new building is being constructed. King said, “there are several viable scenarios for temporary library space.

It will ultimately depend on the market conditions when they are ready to relocate in 18 months [to] two years.”

Among the projects Snohetta architectural firm has worked on are the new World Trade Center Museum, and the reconstruction of Times Square.

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