The Northwest Library at Scotts Crossing
The Northwest Library at Scotts Crossing in Fulton County is positioned near the well-traveled intersection of Hollywood Road and Perry Boulevard. The facility serves as a library and as importantly, a cultural hub linking the neighborhood’s past to the transitioning needs of its current and future residents.
Scotts Crossing is a small neighborhood west of Atlanta with a rich history dating back to the late 1800’s, traditionally sustained by rail commerce, agriculture and the mill industry. More recently, the neighborhood suffered from a lack of investment, dwindling population and increasing crime. As Atlanta recovered from the Great Recession, burgeoning interest in the area, due to its proximity to Atlanta, diverse population and affordable housing spurred scattered new and renovated construction.
Prior to the start of the library’s design, a series of well-attended community meetings determined that the project’s success depended on the program’s direct response to specific community needs. This project represented a major investment in the community and an opportunity for residents to truly act as stakeholders in the process. Key objectives identified included:
• Community focused
• Family and children focused
• Access to technology
• Resource for community business/business incubator
• Meeting space
• A place for music exploration (considered key to local youth)
Within the 25,000-SF building is 5,700 SF of adult collection with stacks, group/individual study rooms, reading and informal lounge areas. A 3,800-SF zone is dedicated exclusively to children, providing books and other media, reading tables, informal gathering space, technology and a tiered read-aloud storytelling area. Teens can enter into a vibrant zone that promotes digital collaboration and individual expression. In addition, a conference room and a flexible multipurpose room are placed in a location to host meetings after business hours. Unique to the library is a business incubator that can be utilized individually or collaboratively, fully equipped with relevant technology. To address the growing Atlanta music industry, a music studio was integrated into the design to provide space for lessons, voice and instrument recording/editing and production.
Beyond the program objectives, the library was designed to act as a catalyst for future development. It is a welcoming destination that responds to the distinct site characteristics, drawing form and material inspiration from the adjacent area where industrial context meets smaller, established neighborhoods. The massing is simple, unpretentious and bold in its relationship to the surrounding mix of industrial, business and residential structures. The use of composite panels, standing seam metal, metal sun screening and an expansive amount of glazing takes its cues from this context. A large area of existing specimen trees was saved, minimizing site disturbance, while helping prioritize the team’s LEED Silver sustainability goal.
The entry plaza engages the street intersection with a transparent entry, sculpture and a landscaped courtyard. Conceived by a local artist, the dynamic exterior sculpture references the importance of the rail system historically to the community and to Atlanta as a whole.