Down at street level, the building has a welcoming presence. The entry is pulled back from the street to make a deep front porch that ties together the library and Neighborhood Service Center under the western edge of the roof. Outdoor seating is positioned in groupings that encourage dialogue and interaction, reinforcing the civic nature of the sheltered space.
Glazed walls provide transparency deep into the public areas of the library and service centre. The glazed skin bends around the corners, marking the children's area and service centre lobby as special places, says Miller.
"The glazing in the curtain wall also offers another educational opportunity," he says. "It features a frit pattern of photovoltaic film that provides shading for the service centre lobby. The windows are individually metered, and low enough to allow people to examine the pattern closely, so the effectiveness of the photovoltaic system can be witnessed."
Brightly painted metal channels above the entry mark the spine of the building. A pair of red channels forms a distinct line leading through the lobby and over the reference desk, terminating at a glass-enclosed quiet room. A pair of blue channels parallel to the front of the building lead to the service centre lobby.
"These steel spines not only define the building's key axes, they also provide a way to organise the art component of the library," says Cinamon. "Art can be suspended from the ceiling along these channels."
The exposed ceiling, with its glue-laminated wood beams and rafters, is strongly reminiscent of traditional Scandinavian architecture.
"The building is effectively defined by its various layers, each influenced by a different heritage aspect," says Miller. "The shipping, sailing and shingle industries are all represented. The tall metal columns, for example, resemble ship's masts, and the wood beams recall the importance of the timber industry to the community."
To ensure the timber would not be a heavy, overwhelming presence, the ends of the rafters are notched, helping to diminish their apparent size.
A new cladding material that features on part of the library exterior is also seen inside. Galvanised, corrugated steel shingles clad the exterior of a curved multipurpose room. The room also features a distinctive, semi-elliptical acoustic ceiling framed in curved wood panels.
Rectangular, colour-stained cedar-clad pods within the library contain support spaces, and are aligned on the east-west axis. As with all the materials used in the library, low-VOC finishes were specified for the cladding of these rooms.