Client: Brooklyn Public Library
Location: Brooklyn, NY, United States
Completion date: 2014
The Brownsville Children’s Library is one of 21 in Brooklyn designed by Andrew Carnegie. We reimagined it, creating a system for the modern children’s library and a new look for the original space.
The ideas in play reflect the 100 year old library’s changing role. No longer a simple reading room with open stacks (another Carnegie innovation), the library is a data hub in its neighborhood, especially because local computer ownership is low. Homework, job searches, resume creation, and afterschool childcare are mixed with lending a huge collection of DVD’s, books and magazines.
The Room of Words, conceived by Lonni Tanner and designed by Carin Goldberg, is nearly 1,000 of the Fry Words every child should know. It blankets the three sides of an ‘apse’ formerly filled with stacks. By removing the middle pair of stacks we created a new sitting area and reading room amidst a stunning array of words. The words are all made with the same parts you see at the local movie theater: plastic tracks with individual letters spelling words placed in random. Rather than drowning in words it feels like floating inside the brain of a writer: absolutely sublime. It is also the starting point for many creative programming encounters and pursuits.
This library is an example of what can happen if a well made building meets an adventurous Brooklyn Public Library Chief Strategy Officer and a tireless NYC See Change Chief Change Officer and they all come to an architect and graphic designer who love books, words, buildings and the greater good.