Snøhetta completes impressive green-roofed library in Philadelphia
High-profile architecture firm Snøhetta has completed an impressive new library at the Temple University in Philadelphia, just in time for the new semester. The library features a striking exterior and boasts some sustainable design, including a large green roof.
The Charles Library at Temple University was created in collaboration with Stantec and serves as a research library. It more than doubles the amount of study spaces offered by its 1960s-era predecessor, the Paley Library, and the 220,000-sq-ft (roughly 20,000-sq-m) building is expected to receive up to 5 million visitors per year.
Its exterior is defined by granite and glazing, with large wooden archways cut into the building at its three main entrances. The wooden archways continue inside to form a central atrium, which is topped by an oculus that offers natural light inside. The overall design is somewhat reminiscent of Snøhetta's Calgary Central.
Like Calgary Central, the atrium serves as a central waypoint from which the library's interior can be easily navigated. Multiple meeting rooms and study spaces are available, as are computer areas and an automated book storage and retrieval system nicknamed "BookBot." The BookBot spans three levels and provides access to a total of 1.5 million books, with a maximum capacity of 2 million.
At the top of the library, reached by an eye-catching stainless steel staircase, lies a pair of glass-encased reading rooms.
The Charles Library at Temple University is slated to receive LEED Gold certification (a green building standard) and features significant sustainable design. In addition to a focus on ensuring natural light inside, roughly 70 percent of the building's roof surface is taken up by a green roof which hosts 15 different species of plants and grass.
The green roof is used to manage stormwater runoff, which is then stored and filtered in underground storage tanks. The system has a maximum capacity of around half a million gallons (roughly 1.8 million liters) and reduces the city water supply usage needs of the library.
The Charles Library at Temple University was completed in August at a construction cost of US$135 million.