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Woodridge Library designs tweaked to feature more light, color

The front view of the library

The library at night

The new design allows for bigger windows and more natural light

Updated details for the new Woodridge Library at 1801 Hamlin Street NE were revealed last night during a meeting at the library.

"We are excited about having a world-class library serve the the Woodridge community," says Ginnie Cooper, chief librarian with D.C. Public Library. "I'm pleased with the quality of the design that the architects have developed and the thoughtful feedback we have received at community meetings.  By working together, the new Woodridge library will be magnificent." 

Three major modifications from the January plans were pointed out at the meeting last night, says DCPL Media Manager George Williams. The first major modification to the plans was the third-floor green space. The third floor, which does not exist in the current Woodrige Library, will be the top level of the new library. This round of designs calls for a floating green space at the center of the floor with a reading room surrounding it, whereas the previous plans called for the opposite.

Another major change to the January plans was the facade of the building. Previously, architects Bing Thom and Wieneck Associates did not know what type of material they would use on the facade. Now that they have approval from the federal Fine Arts Commmission, the architects and library officials have selected a certain type of concrete slab for the facade, allowing further design elements to be finalized.

"Now that we know this, they were able to add more windows and more skylights to the design," says Williams. "The skylights allow for a lot more light, natural light--which is what you want in libraries."

The last major modification to the designs was a lot more color. The plans now show a "splash" of yellow around the windows and the borders of the entranceway have a lot of texture and color, says Williams.

The Woodrige Library renovations, costing around $16.5 million, is part of an extensive D.C. Public Library system upgrade. The new three-story library will expand the library from its roughly 19,000-square-foot current size to a 22,500-square-foot space. A modified children's area is planned for the new library. It will include pocket doors that can transform a portion of the area into a fully enclosed space so the library can remain quiet while young ones play and sing. Other upgrades include a 100-person meeting room on the ground floor, an open floor plan and extra seating for patrons throughout the building. 

During the construction, which is still on track to begin late summer 2013 and finish sometime in 2015, an interim library will be located at 1800 Douglas Street NE, about three blocks from the current location. There will be a two-week period between when the current library closes and the interim one opens so the staff can move books and set up the interim library.

Another major renovation is happening to the MLK Library at 901 G Street NW in June. An 11,000 square foot new digital common space is being added to the library. The $1 million renovation will include things like 70 public access computers--some with high-end software like Final Cut and InDesign, as well as meeting rooms and a 3D printer. 

Read more articles by Lisa Spinelli.

Lisa Spinelli is Elevation DC's development editor as well as a freelance journalist, copy editor and mother of two. After receiving her Master of Science in print journalism from Columbia University in 2004, Lisa worked across the country and in Italy as a journalist, editor and Web editor. Her website LisaSpinelli.com has links to a smattering of her published clips.
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