Little Free Libraries: Drafting Designs with the Rider in Mind

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After hearing the public’s ideas about Little Free Libraries at DART’s stations, local architects are bringing them to life.

On Tuesday, Dallas architects from HKS, Perkins+Will, Shipley Architects and AECOM presented conceptual designs of three Little Free Libraries for Akard and St. Paul stations with riders and pedestrians in mind.

Little Free Libraries/Libros Libres is a literacy and community design initiative that uses free book exchanges to build community. The movement is expanding to DART’s Akard and St. Paul stations and aims to strengthen Dallas’ access to literary resources and promote spaces for interaction.

From detachable, interactive compartments to a rotating stand to curvilinear forms, the firms focused on the experience the public would have exploring and engaging with their designs.

“Our concept really lends itself to both design and discovery,” HKS architect, Lindsay Todd said of her firm’s library design, showcasing vibrant blue, pink and green shelving and detachable compartments that could function as furniture.

The concept from Perkins+Will and Shipley Architects featured a rotating stand that could offer visitors, with a broad range of interests, a chance to explore books of their choosing. The design’s free-flowing forms represented books’ organic nature.

“A book has a texture and a smell,” Perkins+Will architect, Melissa Schoch said. “The reader can underline a book — which is kind of like sharing their own story. We really wanted to showcase that books are important.”

Whether someone is at Akard Station just passing by or is in a hurry to catch the next train, AECOM’s library design elements could entice him/her to slow down and take notice.

“Our library’s design spurs curiosity,” AECOM urban planner, Lawrence Agu said. “Its curvilinear form, slight angles and information graphics invite onlookers to maneuver around the library and discover its contents.”

With all these things in mind, community members, DART staff and other local designers listened in on the presentations at buildingcommunityWORKSHOP’s Dallas headquarters and offered feedback, concerns and constructive criticism.

Now, the designers must use that feedback to tweak and finalize their concepts and offer the public a literary experience it can take along for the ride.

For more information about Little Free Libraries visit bcWORKSHOP.org.

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