Like a beacon, the dynamic glow of the illuminated corner building on Rhode Island Avenue points to a bright future for area residents. The Watha T. Daniel ' Shaw Neighborhood Library (Shaw) was one of the first projects in an ongoing D.C. Public Library initiative to build new facilities with community-friendly spaces and state-of-the-art information technologies. The mandate also stipulates that the buildings meet or exceed LEED Silver certification.
According to Peter Cook, Davis Brody Bond principal in charge of the Shaw Library project, light'in particular daylight boosted by electric light and controls'was a significant part of their energy-saving design strategy. The architects took advantage of the unobstructed, triangular site's potential for daylight by devising a three-story, 22,000-square-foot steel-frame structure with a 3-foot-deep overhang and perforated aluminum screen to shield the glazed, double-height reading room on its south side. Clerestory windows and translucent, insulated fiberglass panels on the north assure ample illumination from the sun on all sides, minimizing the need for electric light in the main reading room by day.