Design for a branch library in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Second year immersion studio, University of Cincinnati. Instructor: Patrick Snadon.

Perspective from Ludlow Avenue

The library is venerated as if it were a sacred building. Inspired by a monastery, the library is inward looking, tranquil, and promotes study. The design re-presents the storefront character of the surrounding historic district by elevating private functions above the public street level and requires visitors to ascend before entering.

The building wraps a ground level courtyard with openings to maintain the strong visual connection between Ludlow Avenue and Hosea Avenue and to receive patrons from both streets. Library functions are articulated within the courtyard and hidden from the street with a pale, polycarbonate façade. Residents in the adjacent apartment building are afforded glimpses into the courtyard through reveals in a perforated zinc scrim. From within the courtyard, the zinc scrim conceals the former party wall to minimize distraction. By night, the facade is activated and the library reveals itself to the street.


Residents in the neighboring apartment building are given a glimpse into the activity of the courtyard below through a perforated screen.

Longitudinal Section

Scrim Elevation

Building Elevations

Courtyard Entry Development

Visitor Sequence

The watercolor vignettes below illustrate the sequence of a visitor walking from Ludlow Avenue up into the first floor of the library, and out onto the terrace.

© Jonathan Wilkinson