On Sunday, June 26th, the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) and the American Library Association (ALA) announced the SOM-designed Chinatown Branch of the Chicago Public Library as the Best of Competition winner 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.
IIDA Executive Vice President and CEO Cheryl S. Durst said, "The design of the Chinatown Branch of the Chicago Public Library balances elegant, but simple aesthetics, pragmatic programming, and green design solutions for one of the busiest libraries in the city. The project exemplifies how libraries have moved beyond their original purpose to become places of gathering, education, connection, entertainment, and more."
Panel judge and Vice President/Senior Project Interior Designer of HOK, Stasia Czech Suleiman, made these remarks on behalf of the jury: "An organic, multistory structure immediately connects the patron to the space through vertical elements recalling the exterior of the Chinatown branch of the Chicago Public Library. Pops of color create and define areas for different user groups while also offering visual connection to adjacent collections. Everything about this design is a nod to the culture of the Chinatown neighborhood it serves."
Designed to achieve LEED® Gold status, the library serves as a critical piece of architecture that meets the community’s diverse needs and enhances the neighborhood’s collective vibrancy.