Page N4.1 . 09 September 2009                     
ArchitectureWeek - News Department
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Michigan AIA Awards 2009

by ArchitectureWeek

For its new northeastern branch, the Ann Arbor District Library asked inFORM studio to design a sustainable building that would promote observation of and respect for its natural surroundings. The resulting Traverwood Branch Library traces a narrow L shape on the corner of a triangular lot, treading lightly on its wooded site while also engaging the street edge.

At once simple and rich architecturally, the library is recognized in the 2009 design awards given by the Michigan chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Other honorees include a riverfront YMCA, a warehouse converted to lofts, and a gay and lesbian community center.

Ann Arbor Library

The form of the one-story, 16,500-square-foot (1,530-square-meter) Traverwood Branch Library solves several problems at once. The narrow, linear floor plate facilitates daylighting, while the L shape allows divergent functions to be acoustically separated. The meeting room and children's area occupy the western wing of the building, while the adult collection and quiet reading room spread along the south wing. Sections of glazing provide views of the woods and allow passive heating in the winter, with cantilevered overhangs reducing solar gain in the summer.

The architect helped the client secure a $30,000 grant to remove and utilize ash trees from the site that had been damaged by the invasive emerald ash borer beetle. Draft horses were used for low-impact removal. The trees were then milled for flooring and shelving, with a few intact trees used as visually striking support timbers in the south wing.   >>>

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ArchWeek Image

The metal-clad Traverwood Branch Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan, was designed by inForm studio.
Photo: Courtesy inFORM studio Extra Large Image

ArchWeek Image

Damaged ash trees harvested from the building site were used as columns inside the Traverwood Branch Library.
Photo: Courtesy inFORM studio Extra Large Image


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