ARCHITECTURAL RECORD - As seen in Architectural Record March 2011 edition
Plainsboro Public Library
BKSK Architects
Plainsboro, New Jersey

Program: A three-level, 46,500-square-foot library including an Internet café, a children's science center, a local arts gallery, offices, terraces, a reading room, and a community room. The building anchors a newly created town center, which blends residential and commercial development along a pedestrian-friendly town green.

Design concept and solution: Conceiving the library as a community hub for Plainsboro's ethnically diverse population, the architects sought to create an indoor equivalent of the town green while offering a contemporary twist on the area's traditional brick and white-trim buildings. A pair of simple, geometric brick wings surrounds a central volume of glass and steel, which houses the entrance and the main reading room. At the entrance a skeletal painted-steel portico and an asymmetrically aligned tower borrow from the civic architecture repertoire without quoting it verbatim. Inside, the BKSK team designed the library as a series of public spaces opening onto one another, beginning outdoors with the town green: patrons can enter, pass through a double-height reading room—itself meant to be an indoor extension of the green—and exit into a rear garden, which functions as a kind of outdoor reading room. A mixture of seating, from low cushions to cocoonlike rattan lounges to upright chairs, caters to a range of cultural sitting styles.

BKSK Architects
28 West 25th Street
New York, NY 10010
(212) 807-9600
(212) 807-6405

Location: 9 Van Doren Street Plainsboro, NJ 11368
Completion Date: May 2010
Total Construction Cost: $12.3 million

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