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AIA awards six projects with the 2019 AIA/ALA Library Building Award

The AIA/ALA Library Building Award is the only award that recognizes entire library structures and all aspects of their design.

April 04, 2019 |

Photo: MSR Design

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the American Library Association will award six libraries with the 2019 AIA/ALA Library Building Awards for excellence in architectural design. You will find each project and a brief description from the AIA below. For more information, click the project name or image.


1. Albion Public Library, Toronto, Canada 

Perkins + Will Canada Inc.

Photo: Double Space Photography.

Situated in one of Toronto’s post-war suburbs, this new library relies on its graceful gestural form and colorful facade to promote engagement. It assumes a vital role in a community that has become an arrival point for new immigrants, offering traditional services as well as cultural orientation, social integration, enhancement of employment skills, and access to technology.


2. Barnard College - The Milstein Center, New York

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM)

Courtesy: Magda Biernat.

A new hub for academic and intellectual life in the heart of Barnard College’s campus in New York City, the 128,000-square foot Milstein Center represents a crossroads for students, the community, and partners across the city. A place for interdisciplinary scholarship, the center reflects the college’s approach to curriculum and the synthesis of all forms of knowledge and data.


3. Calgary's New Central Library, Calgary, Alberta

Snøhetta and Dialog

Photo: Michael Grimm.

On a former brownfield infill site in rapidly expanding Calgary, this new library can accommodate more than twice as many annual visitors as the previous facility. Fitting seamlessly into the complex urban condition surrounding it, the library boasts a generous 75,000 square feet of entry plaza and outdoor amphitheater that allows its lively programming to spill outside.


4. Colorado College Tutt Library Expansion and Transformation, Colorado Springs, Colorado


Photo: Steve Lerum.

Invigorated by Colorado College’s commitment to carbon neutrality, this new library embraced the net-zero mentality from the start. The project follows the planning principles and recommendations set forth in the college’s long range development plan and focuses on open space, flexibility, environmental stewardship, and moments of social and intellectual engagement.


5. Louisville Free Public Library, South Central Regional Library, Louisville, Kentucky

MSR Design and JRA Architects

Photo: Brandon Stengel.

With its angular forms and industrial materials, this library reflects human intervention in the natural world while celebrating its organic surroundings. Sitting in a 100-year-old forest in an area where clear cutting for development has long been the custom, the project harnesses sustainable design to create a flexible and responsive program.


6. Half Moon Bay Library, Half Moon Bay, California

Noll & Tam Architects

Photo: Anthony Lindsey Photography.

Flexibility is key for this new library, which operates in a 270-square-mile service area along California’s coast in San Mateo County. As the primary community facility for the large region, the library was designed to meet the needs of a diverse population, including immigrant and non-English-speaking residents.

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