A large crowd gathered outside the long-awaited grand opening of the Watha T.Daniel/ Shaw Library today to celebrate the unveiling of Washington DC’s newest library. In addition to an advanced LEED Silver certified structure, the crowd of neighborhood residents, political operatives, and gawkers got to witness the spectacle of the two leading Mayoral candidates sharing the stage and the spotlight.
In addition to the spark of electricity generated by the election fever, the crowd got to hear from Shaw Main Street’s Alexander Padro, Council Members Jim Graham and Jack Evans, and a host of other notables. More importantly, they got to see an exceptionally modern, well thought out public building. Architects Davis Brody Bond Aedas have created a modern, sustainable structure that invites people in with a welcoming steel and glass facade and encourages them to stay with airy, well-lit interiors.
The building itself is LEED Silver certified. According to the Washington City Paper,
the building uses post-consumer waste materials for the carpeting, low emission paints, and an elaborate heating system built into a “raised floor.” “We are not cooling or heating the space from here up to there,” said Cooper, pointing to the ceiling. “In most cases, what you have in older buildings is [the air will] come from the top and blow down. You’re spending a lot of energy to make sure that the area from 10 to 20 ft is the right temperature, which is not the case in this building.”
The building does have a Green Roof, which we were able to sneak up to. In a tremendous wasted opportunity, the Green Roof itself is not going to be open to the public.
While I imagine this is to stop little tykes from falling off the roof to a gruesome death, the opportunity to at least do guided tours and show the public how a green roof works would have been nice. Other overheard comments included several visitors lamenting that there wasn’t a coffee-shop in the library (although I haven’t heard of too many other public libraries with Coffee shops.
The building also features bicycle racks to encourage sustainable transportation:
Overall, this building looks to be a home run for both Shaw and the Georgia Avenue Corridor. Congratulations and a big thank you to all involved in getting this project to fruition