David Chipperfield Architects - Des Moines Public Library in Des Moines, Iowa Print
Friday, 05 December 2008 03:36

The library forms an integral part of the new Des Moines 'Western Gateway Park'. This area of the city is currently undergoing extensive redevelopment and the new library and park will become a centrepiece for the urban renewal of Des Moines.

All Photographs are courtesy David Chipperfield Architects and Des Moines Public Library / Photographer Farshid Assassi.

Located at the east end of the park, the new library acts as a link between downtown Des Moines and the park. On the one hand, it responds to the city block, but at the same time it stretches out into the parkland, floating in the surrounding landscape, thus creating outside spaces of different character while conveying to the visitor the feeling of sitting in the park while reading a book.

Site_plan.gifThe 'Gateway Gallery', a flexible activity space, forms part of a public route through the building, reinforcing its bridging character between the park and the city and blending the threshold between library and park. Administration and back of house services are housed in the east wing. The stacks are arranged in such a way that one will always be able to see into the park, creating a sense of openness and transparency. In addition to book stacks, the library also accommodates education facilities, children's play areas and a conference wing with a cafe, reinforcing the public nature of the building and providing a platform for public life.

Des_moines_01.jpgThe two storey concrete structure sits above an underground car park and is entirely wrapped in a composite energy efficient glass-metal skin. Laminated between two glass surfaces, a layer of expanded copper mesh reduces glare and solar gain, thus greatly reducing long-term energy costs. The mesh is the only sun-shading device necessary, ensuring that the view from the inside into the park is maintained at all times. Slight variations in the make up of the panels provide the library with a differentiated yet uniform skin, emphasizing the organic shape of the building.


Tangible Measures for a Sustanable Design:

Glass façade with integrated metal mesh
The façade consists of triple glazing units with an integrated metal mesh. The three-dimensional quality of the mesh allows for good views out of the building but reduces the solar gain through the façade by 80%, thus significantly reducing the building's cooling load.

Green Roof
The green roof both improves the visual and the physical environmental impact of the building.
- For views from the surrounding buildings it gives a sense of a visual continuation of the surrounding park
- The roof helps retain rainwater and thus minimises the impact of the large roof on the sewer system.
- The green roof increases the building's mass and therefore mitigates peaks in temperature resulting in a reduced heating and cooling load.

Exposed Concrete Soffits

All suspended ceilings have been omitted exposing the concrete soffit of the floor slabs. As the slabs are exposed, their building mass can be activated to reduce the building's cooling load.

The elaborate building shape helps connecting the inside and outside and maximises the use of natural daylight. Integrating mesh in the full-height glazing furthered the effectiveness of the daylight. The mesh mitigates the sometimes harsh qualities of daylight thus minimising the use of artificial light to avoid contrast and helping to illuminate the depth of the space.

The cumulative effect of these measures have lead to an excellent energy rating with the local energy supplier and given the library a significant cost rebate in addition to annual savings on their energy bill.

Project Facts and Credits

Location: Des Moines, Iowa, USA
Completion Date: 2006
Client: Des Moines Public Library
Gross Floor Area: 145,528 sq ft (13,520 m2)
Design Architect: David Chipperfield Architects: Doreen Bernath, Franz Borho, Martin Ebert, Chris Hardie, Victoria Jessen-Pike, Ilona Klockenbusch, Hartmut Kortner, Michael Kruse, Kaori Ohsugi, Kim Wang, Reiko Yamazaki
Architect of Record: Herbert Lewis Kruse Blunck Architecture: Mindy Aust, Cal Lewis, Brian Lindgren, Paul Mankins, Brett Mendenhall, Evan Shaw, Jon Sloan, Jeff Wagner
Façade Consultant: W. J. Higgins & Associates, Inc.: Wes Higgins
Structural Engineer: Jane Wernick Associates: James Packer, Kate Purver, Jane Wernick

All Photographs are courtesy David Chipperfield Architects and Des Moines Public Library / Photographer Farshid Assassi.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 26 May 2011 10:41