For its first public library, Heatherwick Studio has unveiled plans. The structure shares a similar design aesthetic with other works by the illustrious British business, like Maggie’s Leeds and Little Island, and will be distinguished by an alluring facade covered in vegetation that beckons people to walk on top of it all the way up to a rooftop patio.
Columbia, Maryland will be home to the Columbia Library. The façade of the structure will be covered in vegetation, which will serve to insulate it and allow it to blend in more naturally with the surroundings.
“The building itself appears as if lifting from the surrounding landscape with cascading planted staircases weaving across the facade to reveal the open, double-story atrium where the county plans to host a program of public events,” explained Heatherwick Studio. “Honoring the Rousian [i.e. founder of Columbia James Rouse] vision of respect for nature for the enjoyment and recreation of the city’s residents the building’s many terraces will be richly planted in native plant species. The facade will seamlessly join with the surrounding public park and lakefront thus becoming an integral part the community’s natural gathering and relaxation place.”
The Columbia Library’s interior layout reflects both its intended adaptability and its primary role as a book depository. It will be set up over five stories and have rooms for play, work, and teaching anything from cuisine to IT. There will also be amphitheatre seating for events. The room will be completed in wood and have a lot of windows to let in as much natural light and provide views of the adjacent lake.
The Howard Hughes Corporation and the Howard County Library are funding the construction of the library. The public opening is scheduled for 2027 and construction is anticipated to begin in late 2024.