Marble Fairbanks

Marble Fairbanks

New York, NY


Glen Oaks Branch Library

Queens Borough
NYC Department of Design and Construction

Glen Oaks Branch Library was designed to replace an existing one story facility with a new 18,000 sf, high performance, LEED certified building located at the juncture of a low scale commercial/institutional area with a suburban residential neighborhood.  The program includes reading rooms on all three levels, a cybercenter, and community meeting spaces.

As the building area required is double that allowable by zoning, half of the interior spaces are placed below grade. A double-height space adjacent to the building entry and three strip skylights in the plaza bring light through a contoured ceiling to define more specific reading areas in the reading room below. The profile of the contoured ceiling is read at the double-height space, making a visual connection between the plaza surface and the ceiling surface, accentuating the artificiality of the ground. The landscape strategy takes into account the ground surface’s dual role as an outdoor public space and its inversion as the roof of the cellar below, exploring the relationship between artifice and nature.

The above grade massing and material treatment responds to the very different site conditions on each elevation, while the interior library spaces are open plans with reading rooms on all three levels.

A large picture-window along the front elevation provides views into and out of the second floor children’s area, while also satisfying the Library’s desire to provide a civic identity to the community. Other exterior materials merge the scale of the library and its residential adjacencies including channel glazing and fiber cement board paneling.

American Architecture Award, The Chicago Atheneaum
Building of the Year, American-Architects
Design Excellence, Queens Chamber of Commerce
A+ Awards Special Mention, Library Typology, Architizer
Design Excellence Program, NYC DDC
Art Commission Award, NYC
Design Award of Honor, SARA/NY
Merit Award, AIA New York

Read more

Status: Built
Location: Queens, NY
Additional Credits: Client: New York City Department of Design and Construction and Queens Borough Public Libraries

Design Team: Scott Marble, Karen Fairbanks, Robert Booth, Mallory Shure, Jake Nishimura, Eric Ng, Adam Marcus, Stacey Murphy, Katie Shima, Christopher Kroner, Andrew Colopy, Jane Lea, Darren Zhou, Jennifer Downey, Alexis Coir

Lighting Design: Richard Shaver Architectural Lighting

Landscape Architect: Scape / Landscape Architecture

MEP Engineers: Plus Group PLLC

Structural Engineers: Buro Happold Consulting Engineers

Geotechnical Engineers: Langan

Photography: Eduard Hueber / Arch Photo; Marble Fairbanks