The library asked us to create an interactive space where they could host community events such as book readings and performances. The space needed to accommodate adults, children and handicapped individuals for reading, relaxing and gathering outdoors!
It all started with a sleek industrial chair. The librarian handed me an image she loved and asked that I base the design off of it. Starting with that image, I was also inspired by Millennium Park in Chicago because of the site’s ability to draw people in and allow them to gather and hang out. That vision was then scaled down to fit the site and incorporated such elements as a slightly raised lawn and sunken amphitheater to play with elevation changes, colorful shade structures that not only provide shade but frame the seating area, and pergolas over the main walk to mimic the architecture of the building and bring it down to more of a human scale. We were also able to incorporate contemporary fixtures on site which brought a clean and international look to the overall design.
The sunken amphitheater is my favorite element. It is such a distinctive and eye-catching space, being half below grade and half above grade, with a raised lawn panel wrapping the backside. Two ADA ramps leading down to the sunken first row of seating and two sets of stairs set into the amphitheater itself, encourages use by all ages and abilities.
Ensuring proper elevations for this small site was challenging. A drainage plan was crucial especially for site elements such as the amphitheater.
Since this was a multiphase project, we also had to find a smooth stopping and starting point between Phase/Year 1 and Phase/Year 2 without any hiccups.
The librarian and all the staff loved working with our crew and the crew enjoyed interacting with the staff just as much. Hard work was rewarded with cookies, soft drinks and even an occasional lunch!
Ron Heinzelmann, Frankie Ryan III, Bob Kraemer, Tony Shapowal, Rob Koprek, Mark Schutz, Jesse Baerber, David Kaminski, Mike Debroux, Landon Stucky, Gary McCarthy, Matt Maikowski, Kevin Hansen and Nathan Brazil.