2015 Merit Award

General Landscape Architecture Design

Glen Oaks Branch Library

Landscape Architect:


Project Team:

Architect: Marble Fairbanks

Structural Engineer: Buro Happold

MEP/FP Engineer: Plus Group

Lighting Designer: Richard Shaver Architectural Lighting


About the Project:

On the corner of a busy intersection between the calm residential and gritty commercial districts of Glen Oaks, Queens is an unexpected and new neighborhood icon: Glen Oaks Branch Library. Completed in 2011, the library and the adjacent plaza activate the streetscape with a series of interconnected spaces that invite conversation, rest, reading, and play.

Rather than place bulky planters in the plaza, which would block visual access to the library, the landscape architects argued that the entire plaza could be sunken 12 inches.  The plaza is built on-structure as a ground-level “green roof” atop the below-ground reading room, thereby making the building itself a large, continguous planter box.

Opportunities to engage with new technology inside the library are extended into the outdoor landscape, where rainwater is collected and re-circulated through a rooftop rainwater collection and irrigation system. The resulting public space is porous and full of life.