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Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library and Learning Center Presented with IDEAS2 Award

AISC presented a 2016 IDEAS2 Award for excellence in steel-frame building design to Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects, the local library system, and other members of the project team during ceremonies at the library yesterday. (Photos: AISC) 

AISC presented members of the project team of the Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library with the 2016 IDEAS2 Award for excellence in steel-frame building design during ceremonies at the library yesterday. The project was lauded for its engineering and architectural achievements in its use of structural steel.  

“With a community-driven mission, the library showcases steel in its purest form and use in a whimsical but purposeful manner,” commented Wanda Lau, senior editor of technology, products and practice for Architect and Architectural Lighting magazines, and the trade media juror in the competition.

The new facility is based on experiential learning, where children are educated through hands-on activities that teach important life skills. Referred to as a “community-embedded, supportive learning center,” the library offers not only books, but also a performance space, a teaching kitchen, a greenhouse, a vegetable garden and an arboretum. The challenge from the library’s director was to create a playground without equipment, where nature and imagination combine to create grand adventures on a six-acre site in the heart of Arkansas’ capital city.

The architecture speaks to the technical nature of construction, expressing all connections and systems. The steel structure’s honest expression and craft of its detailing allowed every column, beam, bolt and connection to be exposed in functional fashion. The great reading room’s roof lifts to the north in response to the idea of “lifting expectations,” and the entire library becomes loft-like, with treehouse study rooms cantilevered and floating in balance over educational spaces below.

For more about the project and all of this year’s IDEAS2 award winners, see the article 2016 IDEAS2 Awards from our May issue. Entries for the 2017 competition are being accepted through tomorrow, September 9, at www.aisc.org/ideas2.


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