My recent posts at World-Architects


Monday, February 03, 2014

SEARCHing for a Detail

Today it was announced that the Glen Oaks Branch Library in Queens, New York, designed by Marble Fairbanks, is the American-Architects 2013 Building of the Year. The three-story building (two floors above grade, one floor below) is covered in glass, both clear panes and translucent channel glass. The elevation below faces Union Turnpike to the north, presenting a strong civic presence in the neighborhood.

[Photo: Eduard Hueber/Archphoto]

At certain times of the day the top of the north facade reads "SEARCH" (photo below), an invitation to come inside. What at first glance looks like a digital readout is actually sunlight being projected through a film on the glass parapet facing south.

[Photo: Eduard Hueber/Archphoto]

Here is a detailed section of the roof, showing the south-facing glass parapet on the right and the north-facing glass wall on the left:

[Drawing: Marble Fairbanks]

What I really like about this detail is the way it:
  • Is created by daylight and is therefore variable, depending on the location of the sun in the sky and the weather (cloudy, clear, etc.);
  • Is entirely created by glass, keeping it within the vocabulary of the exterior;
  • Contributes to the overall design without overriding it; the building is good enough it does not depend entirely on this detail.
Update 02.24: Here is a time-lapse film of the north facade, showing the way the word SEARCH changes over the course of a day:

1 comment:

  1. I love how the sun transfers the words out for those to see! The whole building is unique and different! Thanks for sharing!


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