ArchDaily reports, “The exterior was inspired by the act of discovery, with symbolic metal curtains that are peeled away to reveal greater knowledge within. Over 120,000 books and media offerings are available in this building that aspires to be a vessel for daylight. The building’s massing and clerestory glazing deliberately subdivide, stretch, and carve the envelope to provide an optimal amount of daylight throughout the facility.”

Matthew Kruntorád, AIA, LEED AP, principal at MSR Design, and architect for the project, says metal made this library possible and contributed to giving it an adaptable, column-free and daylight-filled interior. “It allows the delicate proportions of the exterior columns and thin plaza canopies.”

Through an impressive collaboration between architects, designers and library leaders, the new Louisville Free Public Library Northeast Regional Branch, built in Louisville, Kentucky, as the last of three regional libraries strategically positioned to ensure that 90% of the city’s residents live within five miles of a full-service library.

Metal inconspicuously supports the sweeping curtainwall to enable panoramic views into the landscape. Metal captures and transmits daylight to carefully curated interior locations, and it offers a fascinating textural pattern that enlivens the opaque portions of the façade. (Metal Construction News)

Despite its large size, metal helped the building feel open and inviting to visitors. “We embraced the charismatic potential of the steel building structure to animate both the exterior canopy spaces and interior maker spaces,” says Marty Merkel, AIA, LEED AP, associate at JRA Architects, and project manager for the project. “The contrast, both in color and reflectivity, of weathered, dark gray zinc against clear anodized aluminum accentuate the building form. Standard metal cladding panel dies were leveraged to create an extremely custom appearance at a very reasonable price.” (MCN)

For the metal, Louisville-based American Roofing and Metal Co. Inc. installed 24-gauge zinc material from Woburn, Mass.-based RHEINZINK America Inc. Embossing on a portion of the panels was done by Ridgidized Metal Corp., Buffalo, N.Y. The different embossing textures allowed thinner material to be used, minimized oil canning and created subtle shade differences to create a richly textured aesthetic. The library also features hundreds of custom profiles, anodized aluminum curtainwall caps produced by Austell, Ga.-based YKK AP America Inc., fabricated and installed by Louisville-based Kentucky Mirror and Plate Glass Co., and painted, architecturally exposed structural steel canopy framing by Mound Technologies. Rigidized Metal also furnished patterned, prefinished, abraded, magnetic activity wall panels in the children’s collection. (MCN)

The entire project serves as a new model of sustainability for the city and has been LEED Gold certified. More importantly, the new Southwest Regional Library aspires to be a landmark in the community for generations to come, offering lifelong learning to its users, and acting as a catalyst for more compelling and environmentally sensitive suburban development. (ArchDaily)