These five new public libraries replace branches that were destroyed or rendered uninhabitable by Hurricane Katrina. They are anchors of a fourteen-branch library system that is heavily utilized and valued by underserved populations within the city. From the outset, the design-build team considered this project as a collective of public amenities: a civic family of Libraries that respond to their immediate localities. Each Library acts communally within the framework of the NOPL system and individually in direct response to its surroundings. The libraries serve as community living rooms, providing a gathering space and informational resources for their neighborhoods. All five libraries share a common palette of simple building forms and materials—white stucco, charcoal brick and high-efficiency glazing with metal sunscreens—but the material articulation of each is conditionally unique in response to external and internal influences.
Four of the branches have been constructed: The New Orleans East Regional Branch Library, The Robert E. Smith Community Branch Library, The Norman Mayer District Library and The Algiers Regional Branch Library. They have been embraced by their patrons and enlivened by a vibrant array of community programs.
Sustainable design strategies include optimized solar orientation for daylighting and mechanical efficiency, high-efficiency lighting, native landscaping, low VOC paint and materials and recyclable steel exterior solar screening.
Gibbs Construction, Design-Build Contractor
Lee Ledbetter & Associates, Associate Architect
New Orleans Public Library System
Algiers Regional Branch Library: 28,000 sf
New Orleans East Regional Branch Library: 28,000 sf
Norman Mayer District Branch Library: 19,000 sf
Robert E. Smith Community Branch Library: 13,000 sf
Nora Navra Neighborhood Branch Library: 6,100 sf (unbuilt)
SELECTED PUBLICATIONS + MEDIA
"Best New Architecture: 5 Blueprints to Excellence," New Orleans Magazine, March 2013
Tim Mueller Photography