Michael K Chen Architecture got three awards in 2019 through this awesome library project in Bronx, New York City. The Children’s Library at Concourse House is a project of a new children’s library located a mezzanine under the vaulted ceiling of the Concourse House multipurpose space. A generous donor approaches the architect to design this library for families transitioning out of homelessness. The bright, colorful, and playful environment inside the library can engage the children visually.
Concourse House is established in 1991. It is a Bronx-based shelter that serves women with young children. It also works to eliminate homelessness by providing transitional, stable, and safe housing for the families, coupled with a range of social programming and services to help them make good and successful transitions into permanent housing in the Bronx.
It is an important new component of the educational resources, especially for the children. This library is also unique among the other program spaces as a dedicated place to reading, books, and a much-needed space for staff-led readings, volunteers, and other events organized around books.
The importance of reading for the emotional health and cognitive development of children is recognized widely and this library is designed to provide opportunity and space for imagination and exploration for children who often don’t have any access to the books.
The architect is inspired by the donor vision and the library mission, especially how the architect service to this project can extend beyond the coordination and typical design of the library’s physical elements. It also includes how the relationships with the construction community and design can provide fabrication, materials, and services for this library.
The entire design and architecture services for this library are provided by the architect. The architect also leads the effort to solicit additional in-kind donations from other contractors, fabricators, suppliers, and designers. In addition, the architect also initiates online and in-person fundraising efforts and organizing a benefit auction. This auction is hosted by Paddle8 with several donated works from some of the leading lights of the contemporary art and design.
This library is situated under the vaulted ceiling of the Concourse House multipurpose space, in a dark and underused mezzanine space. It is designed to break from the institutional quality of the other program spaces, also to engage the children through a bright, colorful, and playful environment. It also allows for flexible transitions between organized and individual group storytelling and readings.
Credits: Michael K Chen Architecture