- Sustainable Architecture
- Chicago Public Library, Chinatown Branch by SOM
Environmental and social sustainability together in a major project by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP in conjunction with Wight and Company as the appointed architects and working closely with the Chicago Public Library officials to best meet the needs of users.
The Chinatown Branch of the Chicago Public Library serves as a new community hub in the Chinatown neighbourhood. For this reason, SOM referenced Feng Shui design principles in the south-facing entrance, softened shape and gentle interior circulation; an array of vertical shading fins juxtapose a glass curtain wall that maximizes visibility for both library patrons and passers-by during the day, while presenting the image of a glowing lantern at night.
The interiors all connect to the central atrium, like a traditional Chinese courtyard plan. Everything flows and provides clear orientation and spatial cohesion and it is flexible enough to meet the needs of different users. So, community areas and children's zones are on the ground floor while teen and adult zones are situated on the second level.
SOM opted for sustainable design solutions, the most impacting one being the library's green roof. Other sustainable features include radiant cooling and heating, natural daylighting technologies, rainwater management and the presence of in-ground thermal storage tanks (UTES). The Chinatown Branch of the Chicago Public Library ends up consuming 30 percent less energy than a typical library, while providing 70 percent vision glazing!
The library is designed to achieve LEED® Gold status and has won the United States Green Building Council's 2016 Emerald Green Building Innovation Award 2016.
Project: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) in collaboration with Wight and Company
Location: Chicago, USA
Images: © Hedrich Blessing – courtesy of SOM