2013-09-20 / Community

Proposed Far Rockaway Library Design Wins Award

By Miriam Rosenberg

Snøhetta’s rendering of the inside of the new Far Rockaway Library. Snøhetta’s rendering of the inside of the new Far Rockaway Library. Although the new Far Rockaway Library has not yet finished going through the design process, earlier this week the designer released previously unseen renderings after winning a prestigious award for its design of the new building.

The architectural firm Snøhetta of Oslo (Norway) and New York released drawings of the library after it was honored for the design by the Public Design Commission of the City of New York for outstanding public projects during the Annual Awards for Excellence in Design for 2012.

The new library will be built on the site of the current one at the corner of Mott and Cornaga Avenues.

”In the version that gained Design Commission approval, all the desired features are incorporated efficiently into two full floors,” said Joanne King, a representative for the Queens Library in an email. “It will measure 18,000 square feet – double the size of the current library. It will have separate teen, adult and children’s spaces; a meeting/program room; plenty of computers …and an iconic design.”

The new library will have a recessed corner entrance. The new library will have a recessed corner entrance. The description of the design explains that the library will have a recessed corner entrance on Central and Mott Avenues that draws visitors in and a central atrium that allows natural light throughout the interior. The glass façade features a tinted and textured gradient meant to bring to mind the sunset over the Rockaway coastline.

At a presentation to Community Board 14 in June of 2012, representatives from Snøhetta and the Queens Library gave Rockaway residents their first look at the plans for the new library.

“They hit the mark,” said Sharon Anderson, the head librarian at the Far Rockaway Library, at the CB 14 meeting. “I like the lights and the skyline. We’re in the 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 will love it.”

King said the drawings released by Snøhetta had “received preliminary approval from the Public Design Commission. The library is still in the design process, as final details are settled on. There may be additional tweaks, but probably minor ones.”

This is not the first time the Far Rockaway Library, which served as a lifeline for residents to get needed supplies after superstorm Sandy, has been rebuilt. According to the Queens Library website, in 1962 the branch was destroyed by fire. It needed emergency monies from the federally funded Library Services and Construction Act to complete the current library. In 2008, outgoing Borough President Helen Marshall allocated $19.1 million for a new building.

King said the Department of Design and Construction expects to break ground on the new library in late 2014.

Some of the projects Snøhetta has been involved in include the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, the September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion, and the Hunt Library at North Carolina State University.

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