Location: Miami Beach, FL
Client: City of Miami Beach
Project Cost: $10 Million
Size: 45,000 SF
Awards: AIA Merit Award of Excellence in Design
Additional Facts: Designed in association with Robert M. Stern, Architects
The scope of work for the project included programming and design for a new Regional Library, located within the northern most boundary of the City’s historic Art Deco District, adjacent to Miami City Ballet’s new home and facing 22nd Street and Collins Park.
The new Regional Library features a two-story atrium lobby entrance with tapered columns and beamed ceiling, serving as a grand organizational space from which other spaces radiate. Large enough to provide a place for displays and posting of Library activities information, the lobby also houses a custom designed 30 ft. long circulation desk, providing ample queuing area and complete control of the main entry and exit to the Library.
The main reading room, designed to be one of the most special rooms of the Library, is 66’ wide and 125’ long, with tall windows to the North and South. One one side the windows open on to a walled courtyard space and on the other towards a completely renovated Collins Park. Accessible from the main reading room in separately defined spaces are conference and copy rooms, the circulation work room, Library administrative offices and a patrons’ cafe facility flanking the interior landscaped courtyard.
Also accessible from the atrium lobby area is the Multi-purpose Meeting / Lecture space, with 135 seating capacity, a stage area, projection room and storage areas. Book deliveries and other services enter the building through a loading dock and receiving room area on the North side of the building. Parking for library staff and access for other service functions is also located on the building’s North side, accessible from 23rd Street.
Accessible from the entrance lobby by a monumental stair or by two elevators, is the upper level. Located at this level, is the Children’s Reading Room, organized with a wide central aisle with low bookshelves creating smaller reading areas for young readers.
Flanking the Children’s Desk within the reading room area, is a special area for toddlers, outfitted with colorful furnishings and a variety of learning aids. Adjacent is a Story Room defined by a glass enclosure containing storage areas, the Children’s Manager and Work Room areas. Also at the second level, there is a Special Reading Room to house and archive materials depicting historical events corresponding to the development of the City of Miami Beach.
The Library’s architectural design is evocative of the historic forms of Art Deco designs found throughout the southern portion of Miami Beach. The exterior facades are primarily stucco, with a base made from sandstone to simulate stone treatments found in the nearby Bass Museum and other buildings within the district. Large metal windows punctuate the facade, adorned with pre-cast terra-cotta ornament at the roof parapet and in spandrels below the windows. The simple cubism of the composition, the play of planes and colors, the subtle details and bold overhangs taken as a whole, form a memorable and strong composition.