Santa Teresa Branch Library

2010 | San Jose, CA

  • Santa Teresa Branch Library Building Exterior at Night Photo: Sharon Risedorph
  • Santa Teresa Branch Library Main Entrance Photo: Sharon Risedorph
  • Santa Teresa Branch Library Building Detail Photo: Sharon Risedorph
  • Santa Teresa Branch Library Living Room Photo: Sharon Risedorph
  • Santa Teresa Branch Library Circulation Photo: Sharon Risedorph
  • Santa Teresa Branch Library Internet Cafe Photo: Sharon Risedorph
  • Santa Teresa Branch Library Teen Area Photo: Sharon Risedorph
  • Santa Teresa Branch Library Children's Section Photo: Sharon Risedorph

The design of the new Santa Teresa Library incorporates a high level of transparency, with operations visible to both vehicular and pedestrian traffic. The one-story building is sited along a thoroughfare that runs between a residential neighborhood and a low-density commercial area. The South elevation serves as a large window; the expansive glass façade allows for a strong visual connection from the street, and provides passersby with views into the library. A two-story sculptural glass tower and marble wall mark the main entrance to the building on the North side.

The key building materials are glass and steel, interspersed with stucco. Blue glass accents and landscape features provide pops of color against the canvas of the predominately white structure. The outdoor public area along the East side of the building features an exposed steel overhang as well as art installations, planters, and views into the library.

The library interiors feature high ceilings and abundant daylighting with large window walls and skylights. The materials palette includes cork tile flooring, custom curved perforated metal ceilings, and exposed structural elements such as steel columns and beams. Blue polycarbonate panels frame two large skylights, marking the entrance to the Children’s Area.

The concept for the interior spaces of the library draws from retail merchandising display principles and employs residentially scaled components to create a comfortable and welcoming community destination. New releases in technology and literature are showcased in the Marketplace in the library’s foyer, and refreshments and lively hang out space are offered in the Internet café. User-friendly self-checkout machines replace the customary circulation desk. The Living Room – a warm, welcoming reading lounge – features a fireplace and looks out onto the surrounding hills.

The library program also includes a Children’s Area, Teen Area, a 100-seat community room, a technology center, and segregated quiet rooms for study and reading.