The site for the Downtown Branch Library is embedded within the old factory buildings of the 1940’s industrial area of Los Angeles. These four-story brick buildings obstruct the forty-foot square lot on three of its sides, creating a tight infill condition lacking in visibility and natural light. Accessed off an alley previously used for train docking, the proposed library is barely discernable to the current Art’s District community. Within these constraints, the project strives to bring natural light to the internal program, while externally acting as a lantern to engage the surrounding area.
A network of individual systems work together to create a filigree matrix that delicately inhabits the infill space between the existing monolithic buildings. The various components that constitute the project include the structural bearing walls pushed to the lot’s boundaries, the vierendeel trusses that span the space between, the vertical circulation, object-like and exposed, the anchoring book-storage levels, and the floating reading levels minimally hung from the structure. The elements belonging to each system are experienced together as belonging to one distinct component of the matrix. Thereby, no single system overpowers the constrained space. All individual elements work together to provide diversity of experience and reinforce each other to create balance between the alternating light and dark, heavy and weightless components of the project.