The new Silver Spring Library has taken another step toward realization, with the release of initial designs born out of the county's design process. Officials expect to break ground, at least for site preparation, in the summer of 2010. Library construction has not yet been scheduled.
Work on the new library, at the corners of Fenton, Wayne and Bonifant Streets in downtown Silver Spring, has been underway since at least 1999, when Montgomery County approved an initial budget. The northern half of the site, on Wayne Avenue, will hold the library and Arts Center, the southern half will be reserved for future housing.
The 7-story building will be multi-purpose, with the first two floors designated, for now, as an art center with a combination of functions such as classes, offices and an art gallery. Floors 3, 4, and 5 will hold the library, and the 6th floor is set aside for county offices and possibly Health and Human Services office space. The top floor, stepped back, will hold meeting rooms for the library. Design specifications also call for a LEED-certified green roof and garden; plans for the 2nd-story pedestrian bridge from the parking garage to the library were scotched as being against Montgomery's urban planning guidelines.
The most interesting element may be the underside of the building, since the site is traversed by the proposed track of the Purple Line, and has been designated as one of the light rail stations, raising the main body of the library well above street level. "Anyone attending the design meetings would recognize that this is a challenging building, working with the purple coming right through" said Williams Evans, project architect for the Lukmire Partnership, which is responsible for the overall design. Lukmire specializes in such challenges, however. "Our firm is probably one of only a handful of firms that have done as many libraries as we have, 35 or 36, to date" said Evans.
Initial site planning was performed by RTKL, and interior design will be completed by the Sandra Ragan Studio. County standards require LEED Silver certification for the building, but Evans says the team is trying to achieve a Gold rating; though the Silver rating is required as a minimum to earn the county's Certificate of Occupancy. " That gets you up in the morning", Evans says of the requirement.
The final public design meeting will take place November 7, at 1pm, in the library at 8901 Colesville Rd.