Under Construction in ATX: Futuristic New Central Library on Cesar Chavez
published on April 14, 2014
In the summer of 2016, Austin Public Library will have a brand new home in Central Austin. Last Spring, construction commenced on the sustainably-designed New Central Library. The 198,000-square-foot new building will rise six stories above Cesar Chavez to replace the smaller Faulk Central Library at 8th and Guadalupe Street.
Just east of the new Seaholm development, the green-minded library will face Ladybird Lake and operate 30 percent more efficiently than required by code. Reading porches and a rooftop garden will overlook the lake and adjacent Shoal Creek.
Recycled Reads, APL’s zero-waster bookstore, will have a retail space on site, and an Austin-themed café will provide indoor and outdoor dining. The library’s exterior will parallel City Hall in its use of natural limestone and iron.
To celebrate Austin’s iconic music, art, and film scenes, the new library will feature local and national artists. It also will honor Austin’s musicians and cinematic achievements with special displays.
“Set to open in 2016, it aspires to be an urban destination seamlessly integrated with the eclectic local community and lush natural surroundings,” said Director of Libraries Brenda Branch.
To design the new library, APL leaders worked with library consultant and futurist Joan Frye Williams. Incorporating flexible and blended spaces that focus on the electronic delivery of information, the New Central Library will be the first “library for the future” in the U.S. and the second in the world.
In her most recent update, Branch shared that the new library is currently in foundation phase. “The deep well dewatering pumps are almost all running continuously, but lowering the water table at the site has necessarily been a slow process in order to keep from polluting the adjacent creek.”
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Photos courtesy Austin Public Library.
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