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The most beautiful new library buildings in America

The library is not dead.

That sentiment is very clear when you look at these spectacular new designs for centres of learning and continuing education, all of which were built around North America in the last year. The American Institute of Architects, partnering with the American Library Association, chose these six buildings as the best libraries built in 2014 and awarded them the 2015 Library Building Awards.

From their spectacularly designed reading rooms to their apparent architectural beauty, it’s clear to see why.

Cedar Rapids Public Library, OPN Architects

Main Street Studio

The new library in the city of Cedar Rapids, Iowa was built in response to a flood that destroyed the existing structure.

The new building was designed to be the center of the small city’s urban core, which it archived with aim to look “more like an Apple Store and less like the DMV.” It was also constructed in such a way as to keep operating costs low and be much more environmentally friendly than the old structure.

Main Street Studio

Slover Library, Newman Architects with Tymoff + Moss

Peter Aaron / Esto

The new Slover Library in Norfolk, Virgina is actually a restoration of the 115-year-old original library structure, called the Seaford Building, as well as an addition of a 7-story glassy tower.

The old building provides a home for historical documents dating back to European colonization and the new building provides a “porous” welcoming hall for all visitors.

Peter Aaron / Esto

Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library and Learning Center, Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects

Timothy Hursley

This library, set in Little Rock, Arkansas, is much more than a library.

It was created as “the place to be” for children of the community, and as a sign of urban renewal, and a literal bridge to ease the town’s neighbourhoods divided by Interstate 40.

In addition to multiple learning areas for children, it also has a performance space, greenhouse, vegetable garden, and arboretum.

Timothy Hursley

Claire T. Carney Library Addition & Renovation, designLAB architects

Benjamin Benschneider; Nic Lehoux

University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth’s library has been given a facelift, making it the center piece of the college’s campus.

UMass Dartmouth is famous for its many buildings built in the brutalist style, but Carney Library has lost much of its concrete and gained a new glass facade. According to school officials, the library is getting three times as many visitors as before.

Benjamin Benschneider; Nic Lehoux

Mission Branch Library, Muñoz and Company

MissionBranchLibrary2Chris Cooper; Luis M. Garza

Built on the site of the former Mission Drive-in Theatre in San Antonio, Texas, the new Mission Branch Library incorporates plenty of local touches that “reference the materials found on the adjacent Mission San Jose and convey the cultural history of the site.”

Some of these include “locally made barrel vaulted clay tiles ” and “San Saba Sandstone wainscot that wraps the entire perimeter of the white stucco walls.”

MissionBranchLibrary11Chris Cooper; Luis M. Garza

Vancouver Community Library, The Miller Hull Partnership

Benjamin BenschneiderJonathan Hillyer

The new community library in Vancouver, Washington was built to be a central part of the master planned civic district of the state’s fourth largest city.

Its huge atriums and “curtain glass” walls surround spacious lounges, study pods, and an interactive children’s early learning center. On top of the building sits a rooftop garden and terrace.

Jonathan Hillyer

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