The new library design, which one local Twitter user called "clean, retro-modern goodness," goes heavy on the metaphors. Part of the building is suspended over a proposed Purple Line station at Wayne and Fenton, forming a canopy that Dise compares to "an open book." Glass curtain walls on three sides of the building were meant to "reflect the openness of government," he adds, while reinforcing a visual connection between inside and out. And the exterior will be clad in glass, steel and limestone "similar to the limestone you'd see in buildings throughout Silver Spring," says Dise.
Visitors enter the building through entrance lobbies on Wayne Avenue and Fenton Street before ascending to the library, which occupies the third, fourth and fifth floors of the seven-story complex. The street level will contain a coffee shop and art gallery, with studios for local artists on the second floor. The sixth and seventh floors, meanwhile, will be devoted to community space, including meeting rooms, and offices for several county agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services.
Outside, a public green at Fenton and Bonifant will compensate for the loss of "the Turf" on Ellsworth Drive, two blocks away. Apartments originally incorporated into the design has been spun off into its own building next door, which will be completed later.
Two projects that may improve access to the library have been incorporated into the design but won't be finished right away, county officials say. A platform for a future Purple Line station will be built along with the library, but until the transitway between Bethesda and New Carrollton is running, the space will be programmed as a public plaza, Dise explained. Leggett also declared that the library will be designed to accommodate a proposed pedestrian bridge from the library to the Wayne Avenue Garage will be built eventually, despite its rejection by the County Council last summer.
As all county buildings are, the library complex will be required to meet LEED Silver standards for environmentally-friendly design. It also incorporates features of passive solar design, with large overhangs on the east and south sides of the building meant to prevent glare during the summer while allowing solar heat gain in the winter.
Site clearing will begin later this year, Dise says, with a groundbreaking to follow next fall. Construction should take about twenty-four months, meaning that the library will hopefully open for business by late 2012. More details, including floorplans and interior renderings, will be presented at a second public meeting, set for Saturday, November 7th from 1 to 3pm in the current library, located at 8901 Colesville Road.