An international movement is seeing the rise of beautifully designed cultural hubs. Clare Dowdy rounds up the best recent examples, from a library-farm to a ‘tinkering lab’.
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This is the first ever public library in West Loop, and the 81st branch in the city. It’s housed in two former TV studios buildings, which have been given a weathered steel facade. Inside, previously concealed original bow-truss ceilings and skylights have been exposed. Designed by Skidmore Owings & Merrill, the 1,500-sq-m space doubles as a community centre, with meeting rooms and a digital learning space with a recording studio for teenagers. For younger children, there’s a ‘tinkering lab’ with a digital maker-space; and the storytelling rooms have walls with magnetic and writeable surfaces. And like other Chicago branches, free after-school tutoring is on offer.