Queens Library Steinway Branch
Long Island City, New York

The Steinway branch of the Queens Library was designed by architect Adolph Goldberg and constructed in 1954-55. Located on 31st Street in Astoria, Queens, the 12,500 square foot library includes a cellar and two above-grade levels on a 7,600 square foot lot with a landscaped rear garden. The building was designed in a mid-century modern style with flat roofs, roman brick in stacked and running bond patterns, horizontal bands of windows and limestone and aluminum trim elements.

The design concept for the renovation and expansion is situated in the investigation of "Light and Water". A new glass elevator tower located in the reading garden connects the cellar, first, and second floor as well as acts as a spatial joint of light connecting the interior to the exterior. The steel framed enclosure includes laminated colored glazing that mixes the colors of the sky with the experience of traversing the section of the building. Library users step out of the building and into the reading garden each time they move from one level to next using the elevator.

At the interior, the second floor reading rooms and lounge areas areas are reconfigured to create an open plan whereby new spatial configurations and furnishings "float" on a continuous carpeted sea. The existing plaster ceiling is demolished to expose the existing concrete beams and roof slab and to maximize daylighting effects.