ROBERT F. WAGNER
MIDDLE SCHOOL LIBRARY
New York, NY | 2,500 SF | 2007 | Sustainable Design Features | Educational
Photographs by Frank Oudeman
This middle school is located in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, next to the Asia Society, a prominent cultural institution. Inspiration for the undulating book shelf comes from Katsushika’s woodblock print “Under the Great Wave of Kanggawa”, which is housed at the nearby MET Museum.
This library is located in a 1953 school building on the Upper East Side. Charged with renovating the space to multiply its uses, APT employed a variety of design techniques.
The Asia Society’s proximity to the school and Katsushika Hokusai’s famed woodblock print Under the Great Wave off Kanagawa inspired a “waves of knowledge” concept for the project, most actively expressed through deep shelving with an undulating soffit above and a waved floor pattern below.
The use of light maple and dark walnut woods characterizes the periphery and the middle section of the space.
The interstitial spaces in the new library create intimate areas in which young adults love to read. Its sequence of spaces is articulated by modular and movable furniture that can easily be reconfigured, directly addressing the needs of the client. Study, meeting, and discussion areas are now available for students, teachers, and parents alike.
The library’s materials and technologies, such as shades that reduce glare but allow penetration of natural light, as well as energy-efficient light fixtures, responded to the latest environmental standards and followed specific environmental requirements developed with the client.
Publications & Exhibitions
This project is part of Atelier Pagnamenta Torriani’s architectural acupuncture interventions in NYC: a transformative series of public school libraries that are expanding their educational purpose by rebuilding communities through culture.