Dee Brown Library - Maker's Space Addition
Collaborative work spaces to cultivate innovation and creativity are a growing trend among public libraries nationwide. The space satisfies this demand by providing equipment for use by the public. The addition was carefully situated to connect to the existing library and utilizes wood, stone, and metal detailing to match the original building.
Due to site restrictions, the area for the addition was limited to the north side of the building, which is populated by a hardwood forest acting as a buffer to the busy street beyond. Existing bay windows along the north façade allow soft, diffused natural light to enter the stack areas, and offer calming views to the forest. The challenge here was how to connect to the existing building, and not compromise the intent of the original design. The solution was to enter the new Maker’s Space using an enclosed bridge through a bay window over the existing bioswale. The narrow bridge extends the addition away from building making the roof connection a delicate one.
The existing building sits on a foundation of drilled piers/grade beams creating an elevated slab with a crawl space. The structural system for the addition utilized the same construction method, which made way for the placement of ductwork and wiring below the floor. Exposed steel columns, single-sloped glu-laminated trusses, natural limestone, and metal panels were composed in a similar fashion as the existing to create a unified look.
The lab space offers the public equipment to use such as 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC machines, an audio booth, and a demonstration kitchen. The space is meant to be flexible to accommodate a range of events and activities.
The Dee Brown Library continues to be one of the highest use branches in the Central Arkansas Library System serving the diverse population of southwest Little Rock.