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Name   Salt Lake City Public Library
Architects   SAFDIE, MOSHE 
Date   2003
Address   Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
Floor Plan   20903 SQ.M.

The “urban room”, a public space open through the waking hours, attracts every facet of Salt Lake City’s community. They come for books, for information, for education, and entertainment and more. The urban room is a social hub, and the reading garden atop the library’s roof, overlooking the Wasatch Range, is Salt Lake City’s beloved garden of contemplation. The outdoor piazza and lawns are the settings for book and art fairs and concerts. Urban life expands outdoors in summer and withdraws into the light-drenched urban room in winter.

The Salt Lake City Main Public Library occupies a city block across from City Hall. The urban design plan reimagines the role of the library in a downtown setting, drawing the library’s program into the city and the city’s program into the library.

The building consists of a five story, triangular-shaped structure housing the stacks and readers’ facilities, an adjacent rectangular administration wing, and a glass-enclosed urban room, all contained by a crescent-shaped wall. The wall descends toward the piazza, providing a sweeping external staircase that connects the piazza to a rooftop garden overlooking the surrounding Wasatch Mountains. The urban room opens into the piazza, which is lined within the wall with shops, restaurants, meeting rooms, and an auditorium.

Within the crescent, reading galleries occupy the four levels above the retail areas and connect by bridges to the main library block. On the lowest level, the children’s library spills outdoors into an amphitheater and a children’s garden, around which cluster story rooms designed as part of the art program. A south-facing, five-story double-glazed “lens” opens the entire library toward the mountain view while providing shade or trapping the sun’s heat, as appropriate to each season.

  • Collaborators

    Associate Architects -

  • Awards

    Ten Most Beautiful Libraries in the World, abcnews, 2013

    AIA/ALA Library Building Award, American Institute of Architects and the American Library Association, 2005

    Honor Award for Outstanding Architecture, American Institute of Architects, 2004

    Design Award for Best Public/Institutional Building, Prestressed Concrete Institute, 2003

  • Clients

    Salt Lake City Library

  • Cost

    US $78 million

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