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gerritsen beach branch library
brooklyn, NY


New York City Department of Design and Construction


Roy Wright

After years of lobbying, the Gerritsen Beach Branch Library fulfills a South Central Brooklyn community's desire for a much needed public library.  Given the importance of this community institution, an appropriately distinguished site on Gerritsen Avenue was chosen. This avenue serves as the community's spine.  Perpendicular to the avenue is Shell Bank Canal which empties into Sheepshead Bay and harbors the numerous pleasure boats belonging to the houses lining the canal.  At the head of this canal lies the Gerritsen Beach Branch Library.
The library heightens the significance of this already prominent site.   Externally, the visual axis is initiated by the large arched masonry opening and continues through the interior, where a peaked ceiling and a full-story window wall work in concert to frame the view of the canal.  Programmatically, the full services of a modern library and a community meeting center are organized along this line.  This multi-functional programming allows for increased occupancy rates and keeps the community in closer contact with their facility.
The materials of construction were chosen for contextual and environmental appropriateness.  Brick, cast stone and aluminum comprise the exterior materials.  To help unify the structure and reduce maintenance costs, these materials are continued throughout the interior. 

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