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How To Design A Library For Teens: Bleachers, Snacks, And Wii

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Rice + Lipka Architects designed a floor specifically tailored for teenagers at the New York Public Library's Hamilton Grange branch in northern Harlem. The airy, open, colorful space, renovated to the tune of $1.8 million, opened last year and just earned an AIA award for being compelling, successful, well designed and well thought out (the judges' words, not ours). Sports-like bleachers create a hang out-slash-performance space, the openness of the lounges allows for flexibility and requires only a few librarians to oversee the whole room, and it's the first place within the NYPL network that allows eating?since teens, you know, get the munchies.

The most innovative part is a glass circular media room (pictured above) with an open top where library-goers can rock out playing Guitar Hero without isolating themselves from the rest of the community. (The noise is actually counteracted by a floor that absorbs sound and holonic speakers on the ceiling above the media room.) "It makes teens feel as if they have free reign over the space," principal Lyn Rice told Atlantic Cities. "They don't feel like they're under this intense adult scrutiny." And, apparently, the ploy (and architectural savvy) to lure the kids in is working.

· Hamilton Grange Library Teen Center [Rice + Lipka]
· Designing Libraries That Encourage Teens to Loiter [Atlantic Cities]
· All Libraries coverage [Curbed]