Mayor Vincent C. Gray, Chief Librarian Ginnie Cooper and Renowned Architect David Adjaye Open New Francis A. Gregory Library
Published on Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - 1:50pm
June 19, 2012 – Just as students are getting out of school for the summer and the D.C. Public Library’s summer reading program swings into full gear, Mayor Vincent C. Gray, Chief Librarian Ginnie Cooper and world-renowned British architect David Adjaye today opened the brand-new Francis A. Gregory Neighborhood Library. The cutting-edge design offers residents of Hillcrest, Randle Highlands, Fairfax Village and other parts of Southeast D.C. an inviting new space in which to take advantage of the books and other materials, Internet access and multiple community gathering spaces the facility offers.
“The new Francis Gregory Library is an amazing building that exists for an important purpose – encouraging learning,” Mayor Gray said. “Children and teens as well as adults will be excited to go to the library, especially this summer. With 13 new libraries open across the city, residents in every ward will benefit from state-of-the-art new buildings.”
“The library of the future is filled with open spaces, robust technology and areas for people to create, explore and gather,” said Cooper. ”That's what we've accomplished with the new Francis Gregory Library.”
Architect David Adjaye, who is also the lead architect for the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall and creator of the Idea Store libraries in London, shared his perspective about the design of libraries and the communities in which they reside.
“Our mission with the Francis Gregory library has been to offer a new way to experience books, reading and story-telling,” said Adjaye. “Rather than a traditional closed building, this library is porous and open, with the canopy providing a welcoming entrance that invites people inside. Conceived as an extension to the park, it is not only a place to gather, but also a place of contemplation and learning.”
The library is the second in North America to be designed by Adjaye, who also designed the new William O. Lockridge/Bellevue library. Both library designs challenge the traditional idea of libraries by arranging the space to encourage social interaction and to maximize natural light. The Francis A. Gregory Library has many unique elements, including hand-woven lamp shades from Senegal in the teen area.
Located at 3660 Alabama Avenue SE, the new library opens with 40,000 books, CDs, DVDs and other library materials and with space to hold 80,000 total items; 36 public-access computers and free Wi-Fi Internet access; a large meeting room for up to 100 people; and two conference rooms for up to 14 people.
The new library was designed by award-winning architecture team Adjaye Associates and Wiencek Associates. Hess Construction partnered with Broughton Construction to build the new library under DCPL’s Mentor-Protégé program. Developed with the D.C. Department of Small and Local Business Development, the program pairs small certified local businesses with larger businesses to create more opportunities for smaller firms to work on government contracts.
The library cost $13.5 million to design and build. Like all other DCPL buildings under construction, a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification is expected and the building complies with the District's Green Building Act.