Lamond-Riggs Library Design Unveiled

By Robert Oliver (Contributor)

On Tuesday, November 19, over 40 community members met at the Lamond-Riggs Library to attend the latest community engagement meeting on the new Lamond-Riggs Library design. DC Public Library Director Richard Reyes-Gavilan hosted the meeting and introduced the HGA architect team led by Peter Cook, Design Principal.

Mr. Reyes-Gavilan gave a brief summary of the project timeline. He stated that the Lamond-Riggs Library project began in fall 2017, has a projected closing of summer 2020, and will reopen by late 2021. He also thanked his team and the Lamond-Riggs Library Friends for the work done so far. Next, Mr. Cook spoke.

Mr. Cook cited that the community emphasized three elements which, in turn, drove the design process: Natural Light, Quiet Spaces, and Local History. Then, he touched upon the site and building considerations faced by his team. Although the current site looks spacious, it contains three setbacks (two at 15’ and one at 20’) that frame the building’s size to 11,800 square feet per floor. Based on these restrictions and a heritage tree on Jefferson Street NE, the current parking lot size and location was deemed optimal. The library entrance will be moved closer to Kennedy Street, shortening the walk to the parking lot. Also, the building contour was modified from a rectangle to a parallelogram, with children’s and adult/teen programming on the first and second floors, respectively. Lastly, the building will feature a ground-level front porch, second floor balcony facing Jefferson Street NE, and a stormwater garden at the rear. 

The interior features a 100-seat, dividable meeting room and a smaller room supporting 12 to 20 occupants. Several study rooms are planned that support between four and six occupants. To address community history, Mr. Cook suggested the concept of a Heritage Wall that the community will develop. Before taking questions, Mr. Cook welcomed community input on the project.

The following are responses to audience questions:

  • The number of parking spaces remains the same, which is estimated at 11.
  • A bus stop at South Dakota Avenue and Kennedy Street NE was requested. WMATA makes the ultimate decision.
  • A bump-out at the intersection of South Dakota Avenue and Jefferson Street NE was requested.  It will be looked into.
  • Food will be allowed in the library per current policy.
  • A room for the Lamond-Riggs Library Friends is allocated.
  • A request for more books in Chinese, Spanish and other languages was made.
  • The new library will meet the LEED Silver standard, but no green roof will be installed.
  • Additional artwork, including sculpture, is under consideration.
  • The interim library will be located at the Modern at Art Place, pending execution of a lease agreement.

View the full presentation at

The project website is

2 responses

  1. This is a really beautiful, well-considered design. The interior floorplan seems to take a lot of inspiration from the new Cleveland Park library, which in my opinion, has been the best library rebuild to date in the city. This might be better though. I love how they incorporated the “front porch” into the design, and the second story balcony. I’m also a big fan of the Option A metal screen (i.e. The Forest). Curious to know if there was any discussion/debate on this?

    The only thing I’d add, which is a matter of personal taste, is that I personally might prefer the second story metal screen to be a just slightly bolder color (e.g. a forest green, rusty orange, teal, etc.).

    Kudos to the design team. That stretch of South Dakota is going to look amazing once this and Art Place Phase II are completed.

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