(LONG BEACH, Calif.) September 15, 2016 — The City of Long Beach and the Long Beach Public Library Foundation recently celebrated the grand opening of the new Michelle Obama Branch Library designed by LPA Inc., one of California’s largest sustainable design firms. City officials, community members and key contributors to the project gathered at the event in North Long Beach to celebrate the official opening to the public.
The new library was designed to replace the former North Branch Library, which was lacking space for community gatherings, a teen space and adequate children’s services. The new single-story, 25,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility features dynamic public spaces and effective sustainable strategies with a timeless design approach.
“Working together with this vibrant and passionate neighborhood community has resulted in a unique expression of the local culture and the history,” said Rick D’Amato, Principal at LPA. “The library is an expression of the spirit of collaboration which results in a project with which we can all take pride.”
Respecting the original urban nature of the neighborhood while incorporating the form of the city’s historic Atlantic Theater, a 1940s era cinema, the new library will be visibly linked to the area’s vibrant past. To emphasize the sustainable attributes, the original spire from the theater was refurbished and used on top of the tower of the library as part of its structure.
LPA provided its integrated design services including architecture, landscape architecture, interior design, electrical, plumbing, mechanical, civil and structural engineering.
The architecture of the library is the abstraction of the Art Deco nature of the historic Atlantic Corridor neighborhood. The commercial street development inspired the planning and site placement of the building to ensure the continuation of the urban environment.
Maintaining the scale and rhythm of the original structures also worked to engage the new construction with the existing streetscape. The street facing façade “bubble” wall with circular shapes provides a unique design element and was constructed with steel plates detailed to elegantly integrate lighting.
Inside the library, technology such as 3D printing, public access computers, kiosk check-out stations, family learning center, three public meeting rooms and more. The facility features a themed children’s and young adult library, a separate adult library and reading room, efficient staff areas, as well as engaging internal and external public spaces.
“The opening of the Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library is a defining moment in Long Beach history, and will serve as an inspiration for generations to come,” stated Vice Mayor Rex Richardson. “The added technology and community space will be a vital resource for the residents and youth of North Long Beach.”
The library’s sustainable design features focus on two issues that are important to California: water and energy use. The building will use nearly 40 percent less potable water for plumbing fixtures and 55 percent less for irrigation. The landscape palette of drought-tolerant, native California plants coupled with a cutting-edge irrigation system will be a model of appropriate landscape and water use for Southern California. The extensive use of natural daylight throughout the space with lighting controls, efficient HVAC system and a building envelope that responds to solar orientation results in a building that exceeds California Title 24 energy code by nearly 20 percent—saving energy and dollars for the citizens of Long Beach for years to come. The project is also on track to receive a LEED-NC silver rating by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
The Michelle Obama Library will represent a new direction for library design and sustainability that will work as a community catalyst and social hub for the surrounding North Long Beach neighborhoods.
About LPA Inc.
Founded in 1965, LPA has more than 350 employees with offices in San Antonio and Irvine, Sacramento, San Diego and San Jose, California. The firm provides services in architecture, sustainability, planning, interior design, landscape architecture, engineering and graphics. With a proven commitment to integrated sustainable design, LPA designs facilities that span from K-12 schools, colleges and universities and corporate, healthcare and civic facilities. More than 700 major design awards attest to LPA’s commitment to design excellence. For more information, visit http://www.lpadesignstudios.com