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Boca Raton Downtown Library

Boca Raton Downtown Library Wins National Recognition

Library Journal's annual Architectural Issue will feature the new Boca Raton (FL) Downtown Library, designed by PGAL to replace the city's former downtown facility. At 42,000 SF, the $9.8 million library will be double the size of its predecessor. Its design is a contemporary salute to Addison Mizner's iconic Mediterranean styling so prevalent in the area.

It is also a tribute to the intensive library/community collaboration which influenced every aspect of design and programming. Together, library personnel, Friends of the Library, Boca Raton residents and PGAL produced a design that achieved shared goals: a distinct sense of place, easy access and control, sensible orientation, functional workflow, user friendly book stacks, and uniform lighting.

Outside, arched colonnades on two sides, a pastel palette, red barrel roof tiles, expansive windows, stepped rooflines, applied geometric elements and tropical landscaping make the library a perfect fit for this celebrated South Florida city.

Inside, a central “spine” crosses the building diagonally and is enhanced by eight overhead arches which produce a cathedral-like feel. Forty-eight clerestory windows positioned 25' feet above floor level deliver abundant indirect natural light. The lobby is flanked by art gallery walls with LED lighting. An ocean-themed carved glass entrance and oversized whimsical fish graphics welcome visitors to the Youth and Teen area which houses a Learning Center for arts, crafts and story time, a Discovery Room for traveling exhibits, a preschool play area, and a youth reading room distinguished by an eye-catching fish mobile.

Library elements also include a New Book display area, 10 private and group study rooms, a 200 SF public Conference Room, a bookstore and comfortable seating and study tables along the north wall overlooking a garden-like setting. A Meeting Room, seating 165 patrons with kitchenette facilities, can be subdivided and rented out after hours and is located to provide direct access from the Youth and Teen area for programming purposes.

Resources include more than 70 public computers, including 5 Mac computers in a teen “Hang Out” Room, 125,000 volumes of material (books, newspapers, magazines, CD's, DVD's, books on tape) and efficient self-checkout stations.

Exterior features include an outdoor plaza, 171 parking spaces (including designated fuel efficient and carpool /van spaces) and a drive through book drop with overhang. LEED Silver registered, the library was designed with a series of sustainable elements, including low VOC finishes, efficient HVAC systems, low flow plumbing fixtures, and water efficient irrigation.

PGAL Principal in Charge: Ian Nestler, AIA, LEED AP BD+C

PGAL Project Manager: Ann Fils, RA, LEED AP BD+C

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