Indianapolis Public Library – Michigan Road Branch

As the first new branch in 20 years, the Michigan Road Branch had the opportunity to showcase the future of library design. The library is placed in an under-served area and emphasizes a sense of stability as an anchor in the neighborhood. Our design team led six public engagement sessions to gain an immersive understanding of the community’s program desires and service needs.

While the interior of the Michigan Road Branch was designed to separate user groups for sound privacy, the concept intentionally connects the spaces together, with sightlines from one interior vicinity, through the outdoor courtyard green space with a grove of trees, and across into more interior spaces. This means a patron can sit in the reading room, the quietest space, and look south into the children’s play area, the loudest space, and feel connected, yet hear nothing.

The project’s sustainability efforts were not simply added features, but characteristics that had a contingent relationship with the design intent and execution. One of the most rewarding and challenging aspects of the project was brought about by the decision to harvest 17 hardwood trees that resided on site and could not be designed around. Our team worked with a local lumber harvester and a millwork contractor to transform the wood to be used for shading slats, the children’s tunnel feature, circulation desk, accent panels throughout the building, and custom-designed tables, adding a special level of material authenticity to the project.

An automated double-skin facade was implemented within the 4’ cavity between glass walls, where vertical fins rotate to resolve glare and capture solar heat gain. That heat is released to the exterior in warm months or drawn inside during cool months. The double-skin facade allows openness to the community and is the first of its kind implemented in the state of Indiana.

  • Services                 Community Engagement, Programming, Architecture, Interior Design
  • Location                 Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Size                           20,000 SF
  • Awards                   Certified LEED Silver | Indy Chamber Monumental Award - Architecture | Indy Chamber Monumental Award - Interior Design | 2019 AIA Indiana | 2019 AIA Indianapolis | 2019 IIDA Indiana
  • Description           New Construction | Michigan Road Branch