Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined Chicago Public Library Commissioner Brian Bannon, 25th Ward Alderman Danny Solis and local residents today to unveil the design concept for the new Chinatown Library Branch, which will open in 2015 and replace a rental branch that serves 21,000 patrons a month.
“This beautiful, modern design is a model for what a neighborhood library should be, and it is the latest success story in the new chapter we are writing at Chicago Public Library,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Our libraries are anchors in our communities, and that is why we made a $66 million investment to build, expand and modernize our library system.”
Under the first-ever Design/Build Process for a neighborhood branch library, the Library and the Public Building Commission have selected Wight/SOM to design a building that reflects the history and culture of this important Chicago neighborhood, while providing a state-of-the-art library space for residents.
“This new library continues to bring world-class design to Chicago’s neighborhoods while creating a community-specific building,” said Library Commissioner Brian Bannon. “This new branch will serve as a gateway to Chinatown, linking the old with the new, and provide a building that serves the modern Chinese immigrant as well as the longtime Chicago resident.”
“The new Chinatown Branch library represents a new opportunity to further invigorate the Chinatown community,” said Alderman Solis. “It will create a new civic, educational and social hub for Chinatown, providing a place of discovery and learning in our new digital age.”
Earlier this summer the Chicago Public Library and the Public Building Commission worked with members of the Chinatown community in visioning sessions to create design goals and a spatial program concept that was used in selecting the Design/Build team. That team and their conceptual design were approved at the PBC’s August Board meeting. Moving forward, CPL will gather community input regarding the functional elements, and key program areas for the community will be considered as CPL and the design team finalize the building design.
“We involved the Chinatown community in this process from the very beginning,” said PBC Executive Director Erin Lavin Cabonargi. “We will continue to work with the community to ensure the design embodies the positive energy of the vibrant community it serves.”
The new branch will replace the current facility at 2353 S. Wentworth Ave., which is one of the busiest branches in the city and averaged approximately 21,000 visitors per month in 2012. The project is funded through the 24th/Michigan TIF District and is proposed for the site at 2100 S. Wentworth Ave. The property is in the land acquisition phase.