Where Function Meets Fabulous | Year in Architecture 2019

If you’re looking for drama, you’ll find it in some of the stunning design on display in the 2019 Year in Architecture roundup.

If you’re looking for drama, you’ll find it in some of the stunning design on display in the 2019 Year in Architecture roundup. Among these projects, the unique roof on the Anna C. Mott branch at Ohio’s Toledo Lucas County Public Library gives a grand hat tip to its abolitionist namesake, while the Norman Public Library in Oklahoma offers a contemplative prospect. Across the country, the shapes of new and remodeled libraries alike are functional, flexible, and fabulous, making their mark through smart design choices large and small.

Among the trends we saw, the continuing emphasis on outdoor space and room for relaxation collide and produce reading porches. Nooks created through modular furniture, fixturing, and built-ins help create cozy separate places for adults and kids within the larger open spaces that are inherently flexible. Raw roofs that let the systems hang out in plain sight reflect an industrial trend, warmed up by wood finishes and sometimes literal fireplaces. And stair seating continues its upward climb.

College kids never had it so good. These nine academic projects prioritize warm study spaces and connection to nature; several have extensive green roofs to introduce new outdoor access. Public libraries continue to take shape around the people who use them, offering a full range of approaches to matching convening space with access to materials and building in experiences along the way. These new buildings and additions and renovations will give anyone hankering to build plenty of inspiration.

Top photos (clockwise from top l.): Galaxie Library, Dakota County Library, NM, photo ©Ed Wonsek ArtWorks Inc.; Half Moon Bay Library, CA, photo by Anthony Lindsey Photography; Northtown Branch, Chicago Public Library, photo by James Steinkamp; Brambleton Library, Loudon County, VA,
photo ©Paul Rivera; K.O. Mission Branch Library, City of Santa Clara Library System, CA, photo by Ethan Kaplan Photography
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