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IIDA Announces Winners of 2012 Library Interior Design Awards

Big box space turned community library in McAllen, Texas wins Best of Competition award.


Big box space turned community library, designed by Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, Ltd., wins Best of Competition award.

CHICAGO—IIDA Executive Vice President and CEO Cheryl Durst, Hon. FIIDA, recently announced the Best of Competition winner for the 2012 Library Interior Design Competition, held by the IIDA in conjunction with the Library Leadership and Management Association, a division of the American Library Association. This biennial competition honors excellence in library interior design, incorporating aesthetics, design creativity, function and satisfaction of the client's objectives.

Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, Ltd. of Minneapolis, Minn. received the Best of Competition Award for its project, McAllen Public Library in McAllen, Texas.  The library, a transformation of an abandoned Wal-Mart store, demonstrates the greenest possible use of existing space, and provides a lively community space for the city of McAllen and meeting the city’s goal of creating a highly functional, flexible library of more than 124,000 square feet on a single level.

The occupied space is equivalent to nearly 2 ½ football fields, making this project the largest single-story library in the United States. The success of the space is apparent in the stats: In the library’s first operating month, user registration increased 23 percent.

The competition was judged by a panel of leaders in library facilities and interior design, including Charles Forrest, Emory University Libraries; Jim Griffo, IIDA, Gresham Smith & Partners; Dr. Susan E. Parker, UCLA Library; Stacy Reed, IIDA, LEED AP, ID+C, Gensler; Dr. Frederick Schlipf, GSLIS, University of Illinois, Urbana; and Felice L. Silverman, IIDA, Silverman Trykowski Associates.

“The designers took advantage of the benefits of the open space and structure, and by adding natural light, color, vertical and horizontal planes, successfully created intimate zones of functional areas,” says Felice Silverman, IIDA. “Creative color and graphics make wayfinding easy to follow.” 

Dr. Susan Parker commented on the winner, saying “The success of the project is in its audacity, ambition and playfulness in making an abandoned ‘big box’ store work as a library. This space uses color to delineate distinct spaces with their own functionality, which also flow together and are appealing to inhabit.”

In addition to the Best of Competition Winner, seven winners and three honorable mentions were announced earlier from projects submitted throughout North America:

Academic Libraries, 30,000 SF & Smaller
Firm: Joel Sanders Architect, New York, NY
Project: Julian Street Library, Princeton University, NJ

Academic Libraries, over 30,000 SF
Firm: Diamond Schmitt Architects / Evans Bertrand Hill Wheeler Architecture Inc., Toronto, Ontario
Project: Harris Learning Library, Nipissing University - North Bay, Ontario, Canada

On the Boards
Firm:  Perkins + Will, Dallas, TX
Project: Preston Royal Replacement Branch Library, Dallas, TX

Outstanding Historical Renovation Project
Firm: Centerbrook Architects and Planners, Centerbrook, CT
Project: Library and Archives at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, New York

Public Libraries, 30,000 SF & Smaller
Firm: The Freelon Group, Durham, NC
Project: Anacostia Neighborhood Library, Washington DC

Public Libraries, over 30,000 SF
Firm:  Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, Ltd. (MS&R), Minneapolis, MN
Project: McAllen Public Library, McAllen, TX

Single Space
Firm: Shepley Bulfinch, Boston MA
Project: Atlanta University Center- Woodruff Library Learning Commons, Atlanta, GA

Honorable Mentions:

Public Libraries, 30,000 SF & Smaller
Firm: William Rawn Associates, Architects, Inc., Boston, MA
Project: Mattapan Branch Boston Public Library, Mattapan, MA

Public Libraries, over 30,000 SF
Firm: Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, Ltd. (MS&R), Minneapolis, MN
Project: Ramsey County Roseville Library, Roseville, MN

Single Space
Firm: Gensler, Boston, MA
Project: Boston Public Library: Norman B. Leventhal Map Center, Boston, MA

These winning projects are featured on the IIDA website, and will be published in American Libraries magazine in the coming months.