Dec
2015

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Teen Zones Earns AIA Pennsylvania Citation of Merit

PITTSBURGH - GBBN Architects was awarded a Citation of Merit by AIA Pennsylvania for their Teen Zone projects completed for Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP).

The Architectural Excellence recipients were selected by a jury panel from AIA New York City, chaired by internationally acclaimed architect, Thomas Phifer, FAIA. The winners were selected from over 150 project submissions. “It was a great privilege for Thomas Phifer and Partners to chair the AIA Pennsylvania jury to review such an extraordinarily high-quality group of submittals,” said Phifer. “Determining which projects to recognize with awards was a monumental task.”

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is striving to actively engage teens in their library and community, equip them with 21st century skills to help them succeed in a knowledge-based economy, and to provide them with positive role models to help instill qualities that they need to thrive. As part of an ambitious capital project that includes the improvement of 18 neighborhood library locations and the first floor of the Main Library, CLP is dedicated to providing opportunities for teens to explore the worlds of literature and technology while connecting with others. GBBN was engaged to transform the spaces in CLP-East Liberty and CLP-Knoxville into places where teens are encouraged to discover their talents, learn new skills, and collaborate with peers and supportive mentors.

Generous donations from the Cindy and Murry Gerber Foundation and other funders provided funding support for the two projects.


GBBN’s design solution included the creation of three distinct spaces, the Living Room; the Collaboration space; and the Studio, which encourages different levels of interaction and activity from the most casual to the most intense. The range of activity in these distinct areas recognizes that the creative process requires varying levels of engagement. These spaces are present in both libraries’ designs, with a screen framework defining the Studio, the most intensive creative space. The screen framework originated as an abstract ‘beehive’ form at CLP-East Liberty and then the ‘beehive’ is unwound and straightened at CLP-Knoxville defining one side of the Studio, but taking on a shape that makes use of the phenomenon of parallax.

Since initiating dedicated programming for teens, CLP has seen measureable successes such as a significant increase in teen attendance at programs and events as well as in general attendance. After the opening of the CLP-East Liberty teen space, one teen patron exclaimed “the teen space is the single greatest thing to happen in the history of the library in America!” CLP-Knoxville is currently under construction and is scheduled to reopen in the summer of 2016.

Click here to view the full project.