As part of St. Louis County Library’s highly anticipated multi-year capital improvement campaign, Mackey Mitchell Architects designed the new Meramec Valley Branch. The 21,000 SF facility serves the southwest portion of St. Louis County and offers new features such as a laptop bar, a meeting room for community programming, a comfortable quiet room, private study rooms, a designated Teen space, and an innovative children’s area. Additionally, this branch features a gracious outdoor reading veranda for patrons to enjoy the large, natural site.
The varied program is organized into cubes that pinwheel off the central stacks space. This allows maximum visibility for library employees from the central service desk and creates many opportunities for quieter spaces to extend into the surrounding landscape. The large children’s area rises at the front of the building, creating a colorful beacon visible from the street. The expansive site allowed for the introduction of nature-based programming that encircles the building, including a walking trail and a community garden. The site also inspired a “modern rustic” aesthetic, which is visible in the comfortable earthy tones of finishes, the wood toned fiber cement, the regional stone, and the extension of exterior materials to the interior of the building.
The St. Louis County Library includes a new archetype in Children’s Areas – a “Discovery Zone” – which incorporates a multitude of learning and play opportunities. Meramec Valley is one of three branches with this custom space. For this building, Mackey Mitchell has designed a space that features a pneumatic tube system; giant building blocks; magnetic walls with letters, numbers, chutes, tubes, and gears; touch screens equipped with learning games; an interactive play house with operating lights and a play kitchen; and a variety of sensory and motor skill activities. This high-tech space is surrounded by specialty soft seating and platforms, and hosts a robust offering of children’s programming.
(Residents in the Fenton area) will be thrilled by this wonderful new library.
- Kristen Sorth
Director, via STL Today