Library in the Forest
Vestavia Hills, AL
* work performed at previous company
Renta Urban Land Design helped locate and design the LEED Gold library for Vestavia Hills, including a rooftop garden and wooded trails.
Renta Urban Land Design was part of the original design team hired in 2007 to locate and design a new LEED Gold city library for the city of Vestavia Hills, Alabama. The team was chosen based on our experience with site feasibility, our understanding of the city's budget, and our approach to sustainable design.
This 35,000 SF community library will replace an existing facility that the city has outgrown. The 3-story building is being designed to LEED Standards and will provide separate areas for children, special reading areas for research and tutor rooms, as well as a community room that allows local groups to use the facility after-hours without entering the main library area. The new building will take advantage of views provided by the wooded site and will include nature trails and environmental study areas.
The library encompasses less than two acres of an eleven-acre site with dramatic boulder bluffs and over two miles of nature trails connecting to the local intermediate school. When visitors enter the building they will feel as if they’re among the trees, suspended 30 feet in the air. It’s breathtaking,” said Colin Coyne, a LEED certified property developer and chairman of the library board of trustees. “The building is proof we can offer a state-of-the art facility and still be mindful of our natural surroundings.”
The rooftop garden is an example of how pragmatics and aesthetics can be mutually reinforcing. “The rooftop garden serves many purposes,” said Coyne. “It’s a great environment for relaxation; it’s a potential revenue source for the library as we lease it out for receptions; it improves the insulation factor on the building, thus reducing energy use and costs; and it reduces the heat island effect which contributes to warming of our atmosphere in urban areas. As for the walking areas, they existed before we ever built the library.”
The ADA path is designed to provide exterior ADA access to the amphitheater at the rear of the building during non-business hours for school events, scout outings, and local concerts held at the amphitheater.
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