2022 AIA CA DESIGN AWARDS
Special Commendation: Design for Integration
Architect: Noll & Tam Architects
Project Location: Hayward, California
Photographer: Bruce Damonte
The new Hayward Library is a centerpiece of social infrastructure—a multi-functional, multi-generational learning center. Each floor builds upon the previous, reflecting the advancement of knowledge through different seasons of life: the first floor is colorful and playful; the second for active learning; the third is quiet and focused. The building currently operates as Zero Net Energy, pending certification by NBI, and is on track to receive LEED Platinum Certification.
“A very well integrated project that reaches out beyond the footprint of the building to achieve its net zero energy performance, while providing a broad range of programs and amenities for the community.” – 2022 Design Awards Jury
Hayward’s library represents a commitment to sustainability and community. The three-story building’s energy demands are met by the expanded solar array, which also provides rooftop shade. The adjacent civic plaza and park features native plants, spaces for community events, and seating. The plaza also features one of the state’s largest water capture, treatment, and reuse systems. Rainwater harvested from rooftops and plaza surfaces is stored in the 200,000-gallon underground cistern occupying the previous building’s basement.
Important target populations for library-provided support services include: lower-income residents, the unemployed, teens, children, disabled people, seniors, low literacy groups, and non-English-speaking adults. A wide range of spaces, furniture, and technology means the library itself can adapt to patron needs alongside staff.
The project converted nearby turf grass into native shrubs, grasses, perennials, and ground cover plants. Plants were selected for the distinct micro-climate of the southeastern shores of the San Francisco Bay. Perhaps most important to maintaining connectivity to the regional ecosystem, existing large mature trees were protected and incorporated into the new park design to ensure continuous canopy habitat and shade.
The library features one of largest capture, treatment, and reuse systems in the state of California. Once the former library was demolished in the center of the adjacent civic park, the basement was infilled with a rainwater tank, which remains underground in the new park and community plaza. Rainwater is harvested from garage and library rooftops, as well as plaza surfaces in the park, and stored in the 200,000-gallon underground cistern. Filtered and treated water is then pumped to non-potable fixtures in the library. The system provides near net-zero water for the new library building.
Reducing the cost and effort of required maintenance was a top priority for the project. Finishes that required repeated surface application were almost completely eliminated and the building envelope was planned for the least use of sealant systems. Protection of exterior air/vapor barriers was prioritized to ensure the longest life of any products that degrade over time. As this is a public library offering free amenities, services, technology, and a greatly expanded physical collection to patrons, affordability on the user side is unmatched.
Even with extremely efficient lighting and mechanical systems, the given area of rooftop solar panels can typically power no more than two floors of the same area. The solution for this three-story library—after designing systems that consume half the energy outlined by current standards—was to extend the dedicated solar array to the adjacent city parking garage, where it now also provides rooftop shade.
Building exposures are equipped with optimized glazing to provide daylighting and protect against heat gain. Indoor air is filtered to high quality standards, and ventilation is optimized for occupant health. Surrounding mature trees and native plants mitigate the impact of heat, drought, poor air quality, severe weather events, and act as a green backdrop for library views. Staff spaces are supported by low energy ceiling fans and operable windows for local control of comfort.
Hayward library utilizes a panelized terra-cotta siding system as the primary exterior enclosure; the finish is easy to maintain and will last the lifetime of the building. As a modular product, it was delivered to the site and installed in panels sized to be installed by two people, reducing field labor and with few field cuts, reducing construction waste significantly. The criteria of less waste reverberated through the library in panelized ceiling and wall finishes that were shop fabricated and installed. The rainwater cistern was built into the existing infrastructure of the site’s previous building, occupying what was once the previous library’s basement.
Designed to reliably serve for 100 years, the Hayward Library is flexible inside and out. The library is located 150 feet from the main trace of the Hayward fault and the building employed extensive structural modeling to meet stringent building code safety factors. The rainwater capture system supporting non-potable fixtures and site irrigation reduces the impact of ongoing drought conditions. The building air filtration system and high-performance building envelope will allow it to serve as a safe haven for the community during California wildfire season.
To inform the public about the sustainable features of the building, there is an interactive display in the library lobby showing energy use and output of the building in real-time. Library staff conduct tours and present the sustainable features of the library and heritage plaza.
Our team has conducted several design review committee meetings focused on design challenges and solutions, and subsequently shared our insights through press materials; further post-occupancy reviews are intended when Covid concerns have been abated.
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