North Oak Branch Library

Posted By Laura Scheele – Feb 14 | 2024

The North Oak Branch Library, spanning 17,000 square feet, isn’t just a place for books—it’s a sanctuary for the community, blending a nature inspired design with a split-level building. Optimizing the split level footprint on a limited site was a challenge, but quickly turned into an opportunity as the idea of a tree canopy developed. Drawing inspiration from the tranquility of reading under a tree, the library’s design concept incorporates natural elements throughout the facility minimizing exterior wall surfaces, crafting an appealing first impression that harmonizes with its surroundings.

Upon entry, patrons are embraced by a metaphorical tree canopy, offering a serene escape from the bustling world outside. The angled roofline mimics the branches of a tree, while the exterior façade, adorned in green standing seam metal panels and natural brick, blends with the lush foliage, creating a modern yet organic ambiance. The split-level floor plan offers panoramic views, inviting exploration.

Flexibility throughout the building is key, with spaces designed to accommodate a myriad of events and activities. From the inviting learning stairs to the cozy children’s area and the versatile community room, every corner exudes warmth and inclusivity. Equipped with state-of-the-art technology and complemented by private reading areas and collaborative spaces, it caters to the diverse needs of its patrons. Whether attending a lecture, hosting a meeting, or simply unwinding with a good book, there’s something for everyone within its walls.

The Mid-Continent Public Library’s realization of the North Oak Branch Library is a testament to the power of collaboration and vision. Made possible by funds from Proposition L and brought to life by the design expertise of Sapp Design Architects and Helix Architecture and Design, Inc. JE Dunn Construction Group Inc. was the general contractor, Olsson Inc. was the civil and structural engineer, and True Engineering Group LLC was the mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineer. The Olsson Studio was the landscape architect.

Professional Photography by Michael Robinson.