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Snøhetta-designed Far Rockaway library breaks ground

The new library will be twice the size of the existing library building

Renderings courtesy Snøhetta

Last week, officials from the de Blasio administration along with Queens Borough president Melinda Katz and several other local officials made their way to Far Rockaway to celebrate the groundbreaking of a new Snøhetta-designed public library that will replace the 50-year-old library at 1637 Central Avenue.

The current 9,000-square-foot library closed on September, 28, 2018 and is being demolished to make way for an 18,000-square-foot building that will stand two stories tall, featuring a glass facade and a pyramid-like shape. The building will include central space to “let natural light penetrate deep into the buildings” and the design is said to encourage use of a central staircase. The entire building will be ADA compliant and it’s aiming for LEED Gold certification.

“When we were hired as the designers of the new Far Rockaway Library, Queens Public Library asked us for a building that would become a beacon for the neighborhood,” said Snøhetta founding partner and architect Craig Dykers. “Yet in certain ways, we saw that the original library, well-used and well-loved, was already a kind of beacon. According to Dykers, the new library’s design drew inspiration from its predecessor and will now be able to “better provide for the dynamic needs of its people and community.”

The new library will include a teen room, a cyber center, library offices, staff lounge and lockers; adult and children reading areas; a small business center, a meeting room, and a rear courtyard with plantings. There will be after-school programs, community events, and study hours.

Construction has been budgeted at $33.6 million and is being funded through capital investments from the Office of the Queens Borough President, the city’s Economic Development Corporation, Councilmember Donovan Richards, and Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer.

Construction is expected to wrap up by mid-2021. In the mean time, a temporary library is open at 1004 Beach 20th Street.