Located on a prominent site in the Chinatown neighborhood of Chicago, the new 16,000 sq. ft. Chinatown Branch Library aims to create a new civic, educational and social hub for the surrounding community, providing a place of discovery and learning in the new digital age. The state-of-the-art library offers a unique blend of traditional library services and the cutting edge technology featured in 21st century libraries, as well as striking modern architecture and community specific design features. The library has a large central space for community gathering and a large, a glass-enclosed community room for events and programs and two meeting rooms for small group work. It features a large reading room, a YOUmedia digital media space for teens, an expanded community room, children's reading room, meeting space for community use, state of the art technology, Wi-Fi, and self-checkout stations.
The planning process for the library included strong participation from the community, and included visioning sessions with the Chinatown community and key stakeholders to create design goals and a spatial program concept. dbHMS’ integrated design approach leveraged waste heat from a small on-site generator that further reduced energy consumption through a radiant tempering system. These systems are all proven, “state-of-the-art” technologies, yet needed to be tuned to work in harmony with one another to create an incredible environment that maintains the high standards set by the architectural design and are required by the Public Building Commission of Chicago, which developed the project on behalf of its client, Chicago Public Library. The library is designed to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED©) NCv2009 Gold level certification.