Built into a steep hillside with windows only on the front of the building, the old Carrick branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP) felt very much like a basement – dark, damp, and dingy. The CLP bought the site next door to expand the building, and to put the library front and center in the civic space of the community. The new library, designed in collaboration with NK Architects, is built on the existing and new site, and increases the Carrick branch to just under 8,000sf.
To provide natural light – as well as create a quiet, healthy, and ultra-efficient building – the design team suggested that Carrick become first Passive House library in North America, and embraced the idea of "flow" to guide the project.
FLOW is a central idea to the new library: the flow of information is the library’s mission, the flow of people through the space is handled by the ramp design connecting all levels of the library, the flow of storm water at the site is managed by a large rain garden and bio-swale surrounding the building, light flows into the building through large triple-pane windows, and the flow of filtered fresh air is central to the heat recovery ventilation system.
Today the Carrick branch is much more than a repository for books and a quiet place for study. It is a community center, an internet and tech hub, a space for after-school programs, and a place to access information in all its forms. The end result of the new Carrick branch is a beautiful, comfortable, efficient, and highly-usable space for the FLOW of ideas, activities, energy, water, people, space, and generations.