AIA Finalist: Oley E. Rooker Library

PROJECT: Oley E. Rooker Library
FIRM: Allison Architects, Inc.
CONTRACTOR: James H. Cone, Inc.
LOCATION: Little Rock

The Oley E. Rooker Library will be the first LEED certified project for the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS). Geothermal heating and cooling, a high performance building envelope and abundant day lighting are among the sustainable features employed to seek the goal of LEED Silver.

Like previous branches in the system, this building is unique and designed specifically for its site, location and culture. For Otter Creek, a suburban commuter community, it is a landmark. The building site is located on a prime corner near the neighborhood’s entrance.

Positioned for maximum visibility and advantageous solar orientation, the main reading room is a “glass box” of high-performance glazing with sun screens on the east and west facades. A roof of laminated wood beams and pine decking caps the transparent volume. During evening hours, the lighted wood ceiling transforms the building into a lantern.

The administrative wing is clad in local stone and serves as a visual anchor. The children’s area and community room are also expressed as distinct forms; each clad in copper with windows configured for their specific functions.

On the interior, flooring is predominately banded cork tiles and stone pavers flowing in from outdoors. A nod to local tradition, a trio of bronze otters stand guard in the reflecting pool. A small-scale pavilion and amphitheater located near the site’s bioswale provide an alternate venue for children’s summer programs and an opportunity for education on sustainability.

Owner/Client: Central Arkansas Library, Bobby Roberts
Project Team: John Allison, AIA, LEED AP; Chris Hartsfield, AIA; Katie Kummer, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP; Sarah Goss, ASID
Consultants: TME, Inc.; Engineering Consultants, Inc.; White-Daters & Associates; Julie Grisham Interiors
Photographer: Ken West