The International Interior Design Association and the American Library Association have honored the Chinatown Branch of the Chicago Public Library as a recipient of the 2016 Library Interior Design Awards. The biennial award recognizes the designs of library interiors that thoughtfully cater to its patrons through functionality, creativity, and aesthetics.
For the Chinatown Branch, SOM worked closely with Chicago Public Library officials to identify opportunities for programmatic overlap, thereby increasing the flexibility and projected use of many of the building’s spaces. The community meeting area and children’s zone are situated at the ground level while teen and adult zones are located on the second floor. Like a traditional Chinese courtyard plan, all spaces connect to the central atrium room, providing clear orientation and spatial cohesion. The considered design process allowed the building to accurately address and meet the diverse needs of a vibrant community. Through the glass curtain wall, the highly visible Chicago skyline places the patrons firmly within their city, and within the symbolic heart of the Chinatown community.