A welcoming learning environment
The Children’s Library Discovery Center (CLDC) at Queens Central Library is a 22,000ft2, 2-story addition to the main building. As well as having traditional library facilities, it houses a science center complete with hands-on exhibits and learning labs so that children aged 3–12 are able to research information and develop their interest in books and reading.
Our client wanted to create an enticing building that would draw families in from across the local community. In response, the architect designed an exterior shell that comprises four types of glazing – ranging from transparent, to translucent, to opaque and opaque with texture – making the CLDC appear to glow from within.
BuroHappold Engineering was employed to design the MEP systems. Although this was a behind the scenes role, a key challenge for the team was designing a strategy that translated the warm appearance of the exterior into a welcoming interior environment – without disrupting the clean interior aesthetic.
In response, we incorporated a radiant floor heating system to eliminate the need for radiators or other intrusive heating and cooling apparatus. The energy efficiency of the new CLDC was also a key priority, so we included a number of features within our MEP design to support this. A 100% outside air ventilation system, complete with inbuilt energy recovery, ensures superior air quality while reducing energy use by about 25% compared to traditional ventilation systems.
We used low energy artificial lighting where needed, and also introduced measures that resulted in the building using 37% less potable water than the standard set by the Energy Policy Act. This equates to a saving of approximately 67,000 gallons of water per year.
The result of our work is a library whose beauty was recognised with the NYC Design Commission’s Design Award, and whose energy efficiency achieved LEED Silver accreditation.
Services and approach
When we integrate our specialist teams around an approach, the benefits to the client multiply