The Winter Park Library & Events Center redefines the role of the public library in the 21st century. Sited on the northwest corner of Martin Luther King, Jr. Park in Winter Park, Florida, this new knowledge and cultural campus embodies the values of the park’s namesake and is envisioned as a space for community empowerment and edification. As part of an extensive revitalization of the park, the new campus is in harmony with the unique tropical ecology of the site and is conceived as a micro-village of three pavilions, each of different scale and function but which share a common formal language. The village is comprised of a new two-story library, an event center with rooftop terrace, as well as a new welcome portico (porte cochère) that ushers users from the street and unifies the three structures. Guided by biophilic design principles, all three pavilions—composed of rose-pigmented concrete—rest on a raised belvedere that provides idyllic views onto Lake Mendsen, increasing connectivity to the park’s wellness offerings and supporting a new network of exterior green community spaces that run between the three buildings. Arches, inspired both by local fauna and the region’s vernacular architecture, establish the form of the pavilions, with vaulted rooflines and sweeping windows creating a porous relationship between interior and exterior, drawing natural light deep into the buildings. The diverse program includes flexible floorplates for both the library and event center, encouraging cross-pollination and maximizing adaptability for each. Providing 30% larger youth collection and 50% more meeting space than the former library building, the library merges tradition with innovation through increased digital access and the introduction of a new automated materials robot. The library’s open plan supports collection spaces accessible to all ages and abilities, interactive youth and children areas, an indoor auditorium, makerspaces and technology portals, an entrepreneurship center, and continuing education spaces, extending the means by which the entire community can interact, learn, and gather. These open spaces are framed by four timber-lined cores that contain Winter Park’s historical and archival collection spaces, support zones, and private reading rooms. The events center is envisioned as an activated space both day and night, featuring a flexible auditorium space and a rooftop terrace that offers expansive views of the lakeside park setting. Creating parity between the civic library space and the commercially focused event center, both buildings feature a signature sculptural stair. As an ensemble, the Winter Park Library & Events Center comes together as a space of social gathering, intellectual nourishment, and enhanced connection to its natural tropical context.
Since establishing Adjaye Associates in 2000, Sir David Adjaye OBE has crafted a global team that is multicultural and stimulated by the broadest possible cultural discourse. The firm has offices in Accra, London, and New York with work spanning the globe. Adjaye Associates’ most well-known commission to date, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, opened in 2016 on the National Mall in Washington DC. The firm has received widespread recognition for its contributions to architecture. Adjaye was announced the winner of the 2021 RIBA Royal Gold Medal, considered one of the highest honors in British architecture for significant contributions to the field internationally.
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