In November of 2010, Perkins+Will was selected from an international field of architects by the City of Dallas to design the Preston Royal Replacement Branch Library. The new branch will serve a patron base that is affluent, well read, and demanding of the latest information technology.
The replacement library will be located on a new 3.46 acre site in the Preston Hollow neighborhood, home to George and Laura Bush. The site is surrounded by a low scale residential neighborhood on all sides, with a main thoroughfare--Forest Lane--forming its south boundary and providing access from a busy highway to the west. The City of Dallas challenged our design team to create a building that was "quiet" from Forest Lane to de-emphasize any resemblance to the "retail" storefronts that are common on this street. Access, safety, and vehicular/pedestrian traffic were considered in the site planning.
The design of the building embeds shelving along the exterior walls (reflecting the beginnings of the library typology in Alexandria, Egypt) supplemented by open book stacks. The advantage comes as the hardcopy book is limited in number and the book walls form the perimeter while giving over valuable floor space to an open plan ready to adapt to future uses.