Winter Park residents got their very first look at the conceptual designs for the city’s new library/civic center at a public meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 1 at the Rachel D. Murrah Civic Center.
Sir David Adjaye of Adjaye Associates presented the concept before the Winter Park City Commission and local residents, showing a series of renderings that showcased the new facility in three separate structures: a drop-off pavilion, a library and a civic center.
The three structures, which are slated for the northwest corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Park, would be clustered together in a unified “village” layout in close proximity to the lake within the park.
Conceptual designs depict the buildings with large archway windows that stretch across all four sides of each building, framing views of the park, the city and between the buildings.
“The windows create a dialogue,” Adjaye said. “They’re not opaque. They’re transparent to each other. They’re two communities that see each other.”
The library would be a large open hall with vaulted ceilings, offering 34,000 square feet of space in comparison to the current library’s 30,000 square feet of space. The exterior of the buildings would slant forward on all sides, creating an overhang that provides shade and shelter from the sun and rain.
A new event center would also feature a roof-top terrace, with an outdoor auditorium located just south of the building on the water.
“The event center becomes this extraordinary space,” Adjaye said. “The most beautiful thing about those kinds of places is that it all feels like a tent to me. It’s not a closed room – it feels like somebody found a perfect position and placed a beautiful tent to frame the view and to enjoy the context.”
Adjaye brings with him a hefty resume and portfolio in the field of architecture. His work can be spotted in cities across the globe. He’s designed numerous libraries, museums and learning facilities throughout his career, including the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., the Idea Store in London, the Francis A. Gregory Neighborhood Library in Washington, D.C. the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver and the Folkstone Library in Kent, England.
The architect was knighted by Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and was named in TIME’s “100 Most Influential People.” He was recently hired to design a UK Holocaust memorial near the Houses of Parliament in London as well.
Adjaye Associates took the lead on the design of the new Winter Park library/civic center, working alongside HuntonBrady Architects. Continued input from the community is vital to the success of the project, he said.
“I want the community to say ‘That’s our building,’” Adjaye said.
“We are so thrilled and enjoying the process very much. The criticism is very important here. ... It makes the project better and we’re here to listen. Our first goal is to not draw too fast, but to listen.”
Winter Park City Commissioners will take a vote on whether they wish to proceed at their next meeting on Nov. 13.