Project Name: Ledding Library
Practice: Hacker Architects
Firm Location: Portland
Completion year: 2020
Gross Built up Area: 20000 sqft
Project Location: Milwaukie
Lead Architects: David Keltner
Design Team: Jennie Fowler, David Keltner, Laura Klinger, Scott Mannhard, Tyler Nishitani, Matt Sugarbaker, Janell Widmer
Clients: City of Milwaukie
Structural Consultants: ABHT Structural Engineers
Photo Credits: Jeremy BittermannMore Specs
Excerpt: Ledding Library is a cultural space designed by the architectural firm Hacker Architects. The design aims to create a civic presence for the library, reflecting its esteemed position in Milwaukie’s history, community, and downtown core, while taking advantage of the unique natural setting. Its form draws inspiration from the natural movement of rivers, bending across the site to capture sweeping views of the neighbouring heritage Oak trees and waterway.
(“Text as submitted by the Architects”)
The new 20,000square-foot Ledding Library occupies a unique position at the edge of downtown Milwaukie, Oregon, between a wetland natural area, a city park, and City Hall. The design aims to create a civic presence for the library, reflecting its esteemed position in Milwaukie’s history, community, and downtown core, while taking advantage of the unique natural setting. Its form draws inspiration from the natural movement of rivers, bending across the site to capture sweeping views of the neighbouring heritage Oak trees and waterway. Extensive use of wood on both the exterior and interior help to blend the library with its surroundings, creating a warm, welcoming, vibrant atmosphere. The vision for the new library was driven by four primary principles developed by library staff, community members, and the city council.
People: Provide a vibrant community information hub that brings people together, stimulates the imagination and enriches lives.
Prosperity: Provide an innovative, state-of-the-art, future thinking library that supports community and individual endeavours.
Planet: The architecture enhances the surrounding landscape’s experience and is a sustainable and environmentally restorative design model.
Place: The library is a welcoming, civic focal point promoting education and understanding of Milwaukie’s culture, community, and history.
The original library opened in 1962 and occupied the donated former home of Florence Olsen Ledding. Three additions were added to the original house creating structural and utility complexities and challenges for accessibility, library operations, and flexibility. The decision to build new on the existing site shifted focus to capitalizing on the site’s most vital attribute: its adjacency to a scenic wetland pond and tributary to the Willamette River.
The parking lot was reconfigured to run along the top western edge of the site, buffering the adjacency to neighbouring apartment buildings and consolidating landscaped and natural areas to the east, along the waterway. Large windows along the eastern façade, shaded by large oaks, align with seating areas for reading with direct views of the trees and pond. Thermal gain is controlled on the western facade with narrower windows and a broad entry canopy, providing afternoon shade.
The interior open library wraps around staff spaces, a large community room, small meeting spaces and building services. Patrons enter the centre of the building, welcomed by the prominent view of the Oaks and neighbouring pond. Adult and children’s areas are pulled apart into the opposing reaches of the building form for acoustic and programmatic separation. The undulating ceiling form takes inspiration from the flow of water, the specific geometry being driven by exterior conditions and influences, such as the overhanging Oak canopy and interior space shaping.
Holding to the vision, the library has a highly efficient hydronic radiant slab mechanical system for heating and cooling the open library space. Window placements and sizes are optimized for daylight and thermal control. A roof-mounted, 40kW PV array further offsets energy use. The library’s tight thermal envelope makes the building 2030 Challenge-compliant.