A prominent location along Gerritsen Avenue, between Marine Park, a fertile salt marsh, and the head of Shell Bank Canal was chosen for the Gerritsen Beach Branch Library. The design for the library aligns these two significant features along a functional and experiential axis. An arched masonry entrance initiates the axis and leads into the interior where a peaked ceiling and a full-story window frame the view of the canal.
Exposed heavy timber trusses span the full depth of the library adding drama to the reading room spaces. Trusses radiating from the roof ridge pass through the masonry walls and project into the outdoor reading garden providing a shaded seating area. The pitched roof as well as the brick, cast stone and aluminum materials used throughout the library were chosen for their contextual appropriateness to the surrounding residential neighborhood. The wood trusses contribute to a sense of place in keeping with the docks and wood piles that line the canal beyond.
New York City Economic Development Corporation
New York Times – September 28, 1997