Potrero Hill Library
UC Berkeley | Fall 2012
Instructor: Keith Plymale
Location: Potrero Hill, San Francisco

To accommodate the rising popularity and shifting function of urban libraries, the Potrero Hill Public Library requires a redesign/expansion. The redesign explores a fundamental dichotomy in the functionality of modern libraries: the traditional state of quiet book storage, and the active community gathering space which has began to take over modern libraries. These two interpretations take the form of individual spirals wrapping around each other in a torqueing double helix. The passive spiral accommodates book storage, quiet reading space, and reference areas, whereas the active spiral consists of community meeting areas, viewing spaces, children and young adult areas, and extends as outdoor space onto the roof. Considering the levels of activity of each spiral, different strategies were applied to the form and envelope. The passive spiral has a dense horizontal louver cladding to minimize direct sunlight, while the active spiral consists of set back glazing to create a balcony / outdoor circulation space.