LOCATION: Durham, NC
PROJECT SIZE: 25,000 SQ FT
PROJECT COST: $5,400,000
In May 2004, Durham County purchased the former Lowes Grove Elementary School site located at the intersection of South Alston Avenue and North Carolina Highway 54 for the development of a new South Regional Library. This facility is one of several planned to support the County’s long-range goal of providing the region with state-of-the-art lifelong learning and literacy resources.
The new facility was originally conceived to be one of three prototype buildings. In order to recognize the former use of the site as one of significance to the Lowes Grove community, the prototype was modified to better respond to its more retail context. The library contains approximately 25,000 Sq. Ft. with provisions for a future addition of 10,000 Sq. Ft. It includes major spaces such as a large meeting room, administrative areas, adult collection, young adult collection, children’s collection, various reading and study spaces, computer areas, reference area, and periodicals.
The one-story structure is organized in a series of layers defined by heavy masonry walls and volumes. The front façade features a taller glass volume defining the main entrance and meeting room and providing an illuminated “lantern” during evening and dusk hours. A significant highlight of the design is the open and airy main reading space accentuated by a large shed roof that allows for maximum day-lighting and exterior views. Glazed walls at either end of the reading room provide a continuity of space and vistas into the surrounding landscape.
The entire development accomplishes the goal of sustainable design in public buildings and exemplifies careful stewardship of the land and natural resources. The USGBC LEED® (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) system sets the benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. The design also incorporates CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) principles consistent with the County’s goal of providing safer environments for the public.
2010 Durham City-County Appearance Commission
Golden Leaf Awards for Community Appearance (Local)
Photography: Mark Herboth