New York, NY | Frankfurt am Main, DE
JAMAICA, NY, September 15, 2011 – Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, City Council Members Leroy Comrie and Jimmy Van Bramer, and other government and community leaders officially opened the Helen M. Marshall Children’s Library Discovery Center in Jamaica, Queens today.
In 2004, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg launched the Department of Design and Construction’s Design and Construction Excellence program to enable the City of New York to pursue an innovative and ambitious public works program in partnership with the city’s most creative and experienced design professionals. As one of a group of eight firms selected for the city’s larger projects, 1100 Architect was awarded this project for the Queens Library. The opening of the CLDC marks the completion of one of the first projects delivered under the auspices of this program.
Located on the corner of Merrick Boulevard and 90th Avenue, the CLDC is a 22,000-square-foot, two-story plus basement addition to the existing central library building. The design of the building is based on the premise that the CLDC will act as a locus of knowledge, cross-cultural exchange, and community building for the diverse, multicultural population of Jamaica and the entire borough of Queens. The glowing glass façade will be a beacon in the community and is elemental in increasing the library’s visibility and strengthening it as a central cultural and social destination. The project incorporates many sustainable features and is expected to receive LEED Gold Certification.
The new facility is a world class children’s library and is the only public library in the U.S. to incorporate interactive museum exhibits into a traditional reading-rich library environment and the only free children's educational destination in NYC with a special emphasis on science, technology, math and engineering.
1100 Architect collaborated with Lee H. Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnership to create the hybrid science museum and children’s library. Phenomena based exhibits are on display in science-themed “plazas” dispersed throughout the library and integrated into the stacks. The tabletop interactive exhibits, designed around children’s literacy, science, technology, and math, were inspired by input from experts in the field of interactive scientific children’s exhibits at the Exploratorium, the New York Hall of Science, and the Brooklyn Children’s Museum. They were developed and built by the Exploratorium.
Borough President Helen Marshall said, “This unique library is one for the modern age. Clearly, it is not only a library, but a museum and school that will awaken interests and open new vistas and opportunities for children in search of knowledge and wonder. It will be a boroughwide resource for generations to come. I am delighted that the dream of opening this facility is now a reality and look forward to working with the Queens Library as we focus on helping all children achieve their potential. I know that the more than $16 million in capital funds allocated by the Borough President's Office for this facility is a sound investment in the future that will reap a rich harvest. I thank all of our partners in government, especially at the city and federal levels, and the private sector for making today possible.”
"I want to foremost applaud Queens Library CEO Thomas Galante and his staff for all their hard work in realizing this vision," stated NYC Council Deputy Majority Leader Leroy Comrie. "The Children's Library Discovery Center will be an extraordinary tool for educators and parents to introduce our children to the joys of reading and scientific exploration. In these learning labs, our borough's next great scientist or astronaut will take their first steps. Some have questioned the need for libraries in the digital age- today we can say without a doubt that libraries will continue to play a great role in the future of our civilization. The Discovery Center will educate and entertain generations of Queens residents."
“The opening of the new Children’s Library Discovery Center at the Central Queens Library provides an opportunity for kids to have access to state-of-the-art interactive exhibits and learning labs with skilled professionals to guide them. Encouraging literacy, especially at an early age, is an issue I have fought for in the City Council and will continue to do so. When I was a child I loved to visit my local library and read. With the new Children’s Library Discovery Center, kids will have many more options that enhance their ability to research, explore, and problem solve,” said New York City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer.
"The Queens Children's Library Discovery Center is a foundation upon which the future use of the library’s advanced services will be better utilized by the people of Queens. This library will provide a foundation upon which more effective citizens will be available to the city. I, along with the Board of Trustees of the Queens Library and the Board of Trustees of the Queens Foundation, thank Mayor Bloomberg, Borough President Marshall, Council Member Comrie, the Queens City Council Delegation and private donors for making it possible,” said Joseph R. Ficalora, President.
Juergen Riehm, Principal-in-Charge, 1100 Architect said: “Even during the proposal phase of the Children's Library Discovery Center I was fascinated by the corner site and its potential to create an architectural marker for the Queens Central Library. This first impression guided us in the design of a glowing beacon for the community of Queens and the creation of a learning space for children that motivates curiosity and discovery of our environment."
Lee Skolnick of Lee H. Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnership said, “We created these spaces and iconography to inspire curiosity and a love of learning, and to enrich children’s minds every visit.”
“This model adds object-based, experiential science learning to the text-based information conventionally found in children’s libraries,” said Claire Pillsbury, San Francisco Exploratorium.
Queens Library is an independent, not-for-profit corporation and is not affiliated with any other library. Queens Library serves a population of 2.3 million in one of the most ethnically diverse counties in the U.S and has among the highest circulations of any public library system in the world.
The Children’s Library Discovery Center is open seven days a week: Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10-9; Tuesdays 1-9; Fridays; 10-6; Saturday, 10 – 5:30 and Sundays noon – 5.
For more information please call 1100 Architect at (212) 645-1011.