Student Work

  • Architecture (MArch)

    Angela DeGeorge

    The Space of Overlap: An Investigation of the Urban Branch Library

    This thesis investigation lies at the nexus between urban ecology, architectural form, and library programming. These three issues come together in a design proposal for a new branch Library in Gowanus, Brooklyn. We are living in the digital age, but the continued importance of urban libraries, as thriving physical places-filled with people, books and computers-is certain. Branch libraries are stretched thin because they are asked to do so much and adapt to a range of programs and increased attendance. This often creates tensions between the collective and the individual or between the loud spaces and the quiet spaces. This thesis asks how architecture can express these tensions through the language of overlap. The project begins by working with the water, green infrastructure, and the public plaza as overlapping elements to create a safe and clean habitat that enhances access to the canal. Over fifty thousand square feet of library rest above this ground system. The building is an exercise in creating public space using modernist principles of form and composition. The project is an arrangement of overlapping solid bars containing discreet programs. The bars are composed to emphasize the language of overlap. The bars are supported by a diagrid cylinder that skewers each joint of the building. Inside each of these cores is the circulation-joyful spiraling stairs wrapped in copper. The glorified cores are both collective and circulatory spaces that constitute the overlap between otherwise autonomous bars-they connect the patron from one program to the next. The project uses these moments of playfulness combined with a modernist approach to create beautiful, functional, and valuable civic space at the head of Gowanus. And the formal strategy of this thesis-the expression of overlap- posits how the architecture of libraries can respond to an evolving program. See more on issuu.