The renovation of the Carter Woodson Regional Public Library strives to reinvigorate a sense of civic pride in an important institution for the Washington Heights neighborhood on Chicago’s south side.
The new facade design provides the opportunity for the building to outwardly engage with the community. To reflect the more contemporary evolution of “library” use and the dynamism of the neighborhood at this busy intersection, the design is animated through the irregular syncopated window placement and color patterning. As a nod to the original facade, the verticality and module of the new windows remains, but they are more numerous and punctuated with large expanses of glass to signify unique/social spaces (entry, corner, children’s room) within the building. Projecting sunscreens reduce solar loads and create depth with constantly changing shadows along the major facades.
The new terra cotta rainscreen curtainwall façade was selected for its cost-effectiveness, long-term durability/maintainability, adaptability to the existing building module, and its easily customizable color/ pattern options. The facade design for Woodson Library resulted from a considered response to technical, environmental/contextual and cultural influences.