The Cinematic Arts library serves as a public cultural institution for Manhattan, borrowing and lending to galleries, museums, filmmakers, and photographers in the Chinatown area. The building serves as an archive of both physical and digital media and makes the collection open to the public in an innovative and immersive way.
The design revolves around the idea of projection inherent in film and photography. The library is composed of autonomous floor and wall slabs that begin to flow and join together into one interwoven structure, much like a film strip merging into fluid motion. A secondary skin of stretched fabric is looped through the structure forming surfaces for projection, study areas, and group work stations. From the park adjacent to the site, the public can view film and photography projections across the entire facade of the building, creating a new cultural gathering point for the area.
During the day, the library’s screens provide shading for the building and moderate the amount of direct sunlight reaching the reading and auditorium spaces.
At night, the stretched fabric screens are activated by projectors installed in the park across the street, creating a drive-in theater experience for pedestrians and residents of the area.
community exchange and collaboration
The circulation system of the library consists of a central stair core that spirals up the height of the building, supplemented by a private employee staircase in the rear that connects the administrative functions.
The fourth floor, where the book selection interface can be seen as well as one of the auditoriums in the rear.
A rendering of the interstitial space between the large exterior projection screen and the wall behind, creating an intimate reading or viewing area.
he fifth floor, where a custom waffle slab is used to extend the spanning capabilities of the roof.
4th floor plan: secondary auditorium + individual study
3rd floor plan: main auditorium + group work + individual study
An unfolded view of the building’s exterior walls and facade showing the level by level circulation path of visitors, via the spiral stair, and books, via the central column.