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Comprehensive design studio: Uptown 23rd library

Mitchel, Austin
Located in the up and coming Uptown district along Northwest 23rd Street in Oklahoma City, the Uptown Municipal Library addresses the longevity of the surrounding community while supporting the family friendly shopping vision of the clients. Historically, the Uptown District was a primary retail corridor, but eventually declined. It is now being rejuvenated with restaurants, retail, and a revitalized Tower Theater as a music venue, which is located across the street from the library's site. It will help re-establish the neighborhoods vitality through a resilient civic facility. Resiliency is achieved by satisfying two criteria: economic resiliency and energy independence.
A library dependent entirely on city funding is vulnerable, so it needs to operate more as a business in order to stay economically viable. To achieve this goal, the entire first floor is rentable retail space that visually engages pedestrians with open storefront and masonry walls that relate to surrounding storefronts.
The library proper is a floating, transparent mass occupying the third level that is juxtaposed dramatically with the masonry first floor. Lifting the library off the ground results in higher wind speeds, allowing southern prevailing winds to naturally ventilate the building and dissipate heat. The second floor is left open as a community outdoor space with visual connections to the community room. Large steel vortexes support the library next to the street, contain vertical circulation, and create an energetic entry. Both the retail and library are visually connected with an offset core on the east side of the site. The library interior is an open plan with a raised floor system in order to account for the changing nature of information from books to digital, and technology's role in learning.