A block full of books surrounded by skyscrapers – Hunters Point Library

There are immense possibilities of what an architect can do with just a rectangular block. Hunters Point Library, designed by Steven Holl, expresses an accurate example of how simple yet astounding architecture can be, combining contemporary aesthetics with smart construction solutions.

Steven Holl was born and brought up in Manchester, Washington, in 1947 and pursued architecture studies in Rome in 1970. Soon after attending the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, Holl established his office in New York City. For ten years, Holl slept in his office on a plywood bench and took showers at the nearby YMCA – New York City’s largest private youth-serving organization.

It did not take long for Holl to reach where he and his firm stand in the market today. Holl has won numerous awards for his excellent works in the architecture industry and now rising high with his 40-person office, producing outstanding structures.

Hunter Point Library and skyscrapers
Hunters Point Library is a community-devoted space with a scenic skyscraper backdrop

Hunters Point Public Library is an important addition to the neighbourhood as more than just a place to read books. The Library has several functions such as an adult reading section, a children’s and teen area, a cyber centre, a conference room and also an outdoor amphitheatre. This 22,000 square foot concrete readers’ paradise stands out with a unique identity despite being surrounded by Hunter Point’s high rises.

The large window cut-outs are not only designed to present modern aesthetics but also, as a thoughtful aid to the construction of the building, as the entire shell is in-fact a load-bearing structure itself, omitting columns overall. These openings offer a gorgeous view of the Long Island Skyline and East River from each floor for the readers, whereas the people passing by in contrast with the flow of readers in the library.

Hunter Point Library's large openings
Hunters Point Library’s large openings offer marvellous views of the Long Island skyline from inside

Holl designed the library in ascending tiers emphasizing the books while hiding the computers in the back because it was essential for the architect to balance the digital environment with books. “While the plan is compact, the building section of the new library is open and flowing, allowing for the most energy-efficient design and the greatest amount of public green space on the site” says Holl.

During the daytime, the exterior concrete facade sparkles subtly with aluminium paint whereas the structure truly takes the stage in the night when it is illuminated from within on the waterfront.

Hunters Point Library lighting up at night
Hunters Point Library interior
Hunters Point Library interior library
Hunters Point Library large windows
Hunters Point Library exterior

Talking to people terrifies me the most, which is why I started writing.
I am an architect from India, studying and working in Milan with my broken Italian and a bag full of spices.