EXCLUSIVE: Inside The New Library Under The Westlight Condo Building, Opening Saturday
Saturday, Mayor Muriel Bowser will cut the ribbon at D.C.'s newest public library at 2301 L St. NW. The West End library, part of Eastbanc's Westlight condo and apartment building, represents the first public-private venture with the D.C. Public Library as a tenant in a mixed-use building, rather than occupying its own stand-alone building. Bisnow got an exclusive sneak peek inside the library ahead of the opening.
The library, designed by Georgetown-based CORE Architecture + Design, offers an open, airy feeling with its high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows. Upon entering the library, the eye is first drawn to the 220-foot mural coming down from the ceiling. Created by local artist Adrienne Gaither, the mural features geometric letters which, if gazed upon closely enough, spell out the names of famous people who were born in or lived in the West End.
Below the mural is the main section of books and the 88-person adult study area. Beyond that is the teen area, with four computers and private rooms for studying. The designers used warm tones of red, orange and yellow and created a color gradient to draw people into the space.
On the other side of the books, guests can use the 12 public computers. The windows next to the computer area lead to the public courtyard, which has yet to be finished. The interior courtyard will have green vines on the walls and will be used as an area for public events.
For large indoor public events, the library has an auditorium-style meeting room that seats up to 100. Intended to be used for Advisory Neighborhood Commission meetings and similar gatherings, the space has its own entrance and bathrooms separate from the library. A 12-seat conference room with a television setup is also available near the entrance of the large meeting room.
The children's area, designed with cooler blue and green tones, features a mural created by local artist Nekisha Durrett. Next to the area with books and seating nooks is a reading area for younger children. The designers also created a dedicated space where parents can put strollers.
The library is part of Eastbanc's mixed-use development that had people camping out overnight and lining up around the block to buy condos. Ten Aquitectos designed the cantilevered glass exterior.
The building includes 71 condo units and 93 rental apartments. Bluestone Lane Coffee in January will open its first D.C. location in the building. The café will open directly into the library on the inside, another first for a D.C. public library.