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June 6, 2017

Elmhurst Community Library Receives Excellence Award From the American Institute of Architects

Ian Michaels

Long Island City, NY – Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora of the New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) announced today that the new Elmhurst Community Library at 86-01 Broadway in Queens was the recipient of an Excellence Award at the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Brooklyn + Queens Design Awards earlier this month. The award represents the highest level of achievement bestowed by the organization.

The 32,000-square-foot Elmhurst Community Library re-opened in December 2016 following a $32.4 million renovation project by the DDC that tripled its size; made the building ADA-accessible; created separate reading areas for children, teens, and adults; and constructed a new main reading atrium, and new front and rear gardens. The building also features cyber, media, and adult learning centers; a “memory wall”; and a learning garden among its 13,000-square-feet of outdoor space.

“Libraries are valuable community resources that provide not only a center for learning but also a meeting spot for the community, with programming and performances,” said Commissioner Peña-Mora. “A high quality library in Elmhurst indicates the City’s commitment to learning, to equity, and, in this case, to environmental sustainability. We’re very pleased to work with our partners at the Queens Public Library to provide superior facilities throughout the borough.”

The new Elmhurst Library at 86-01 Broadway
The Elmhurst Community Library re-opened in December 2016 at triple its former size (NYCDDC)

Under the project the building added sustainability features that allow it to achieve LEED Silver certification. In addition to two green roofs, the interior heating and air conditioning are served by high efficiency systems, and are controlled via automated building management systems for peak sustainability.

A Percent for Art installation entitled “Collection of nine hundred and fifty five shapes” by Artist Allan McCollum as part of his Shapes Project is featured throughout the building. To ensure that no two shapes will be alike, McCollum designed a system of 300 individual parts that may be combined to produce over 31 billion different shapes. The artist hopes that the Shapes Project installation may come to symbolize the community of Elmhurst, its goals for unity, and its love of diversity. The installation previously received a Design Award from the Public Design Commission.

A sample of the Elmhurst Library Percent for Art installation
Allan McCollum’s Percent for Art installation at the new Elmhurst Community Library (NYCDDC)

Elmhurst Library was designed by Marpillero Pollak Architects, Severud Associates, ADS Engineers, and Steven Winter Associates under DDC’s Design and Construction Excellence 2.0 program, which pre-selects and pre-qualifies design firms that DDC works with on projects with construction budgets of up to $50 million. The program is designed to decrease the amount of time required for DDC to procure design services, while ensuring the highest levels of quality and professionalism in construction projects managed by the agency. The contractor was Stalco Construction.

All firms in the program are committed to incorporating DDC’s Design and Construction Excellence 2.0 Guiding Principles into their work. DDC’s Guiding Principles are a series of non-prescriptive guidelines designed to ensure that public projects are designed and built to the highest standards that comply with Mayor Bill de Blasio’s vision of a sustainable, resilient, equitable, and healthy City. 

About the NYC Department of Design and Construction
The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor de Blasio’s lenses of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, new or upgraded roadways, sewers, water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $15 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative, and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to city projects. For more information, please visit