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New Public Libraries Are Some of the Best Buildings in DC - Source Washingtonian

Posted on Mar 19,2019
Filed Under News , Community,

Clockwise from upper left, the Francis A. Gregory, Bellevue, Cleveland Park, and Tenley/Friendship libraries. Photograph of Gregory by Eric Taylor Photography; of Bellevue by Jeff Sauers; bottom photographs by Evy Mages.

Source Washingtonian


WASHINGTON, DC. - I recently spent a Saturday afternoon checking out a swanky new building in Cleveland Park. Its sleek exterior—all glass, brick, and limestone—strikes a bold profile in a neighborhood not exactly known for contemporary architecture. Inside, light pours into the lobby, which is lined with white marble and rich wood panels. A row of plush armchairs is arranged below hanging lights, recalling a third-wave coffee shop more than a public institution. A graceful staircase leads to a roof deck overlooking a plaza, where rain gardens are filled with lush plants.

Did I mention there are books, too? This luxurious space is actually the new Cleveland Park Library, which opened on Connecticut Avenue last summer. It’s one of a slew of new libraries that have cropped up in the District over the past decade, as the city has undertaken a project to renovate or rebuild each of its 24 branches.

The initiative has already paid off with a series of striking designs that have added to the character of their neighborhoods. The Tenley-Friendship Library, with its distinctive rust-orange fins, offers upper Wisconsin Avenue a shot of color. The Woodridge Library, on Hamlin Street, Northeast, has a white-webbed roof deck that doubles as an unlikely concert venue. The West End Library, at 23rd and L, Northwest, has a vast street-side reading room that feels like an indoor town square. And the Francis A. Gregory and Bellevue branches have given local architecture a shot of star power, as they were designed by David Adjaye, who also oversaw the National Museum of African American History & Culture. Public buildings, Adjaye once said, “should offer places for people to see beautiful things.”

Source Washingtonian

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