Plainsboro, New Jersey

Program: A three-level, 46,500-square-foot library including an Internet café, a children's science center, a local arts gallery, offices, terraces, a reading room, and a community room. The building anchors a newly created town center, which blends residential and commercial development along a pedestrian-friendly town green.

Design concept and solution: Conceiving the library as a community hub for Plainsboro's ethnically diverse population, the architects sought to create an indoor equivalent of the town green while offering a contemporary twist on the area's traditional brick and white-trim buildings. A pair of simple, geometric brick wings surrounds a central volume of glass and steel, which houses the entrance and the main reading room. At the entrance a skeletal painted-steel portico and an asymmetrically aligned tower borrow from the civic architecture repertoire without quoting it verbatim. Inside, the BKSK team designed the library as a series of public spaces opening onto one another, beginning outdoors with the town green: patrons can enter, pass through a double-height reading room—itself meant to be an indoor extension of the green—and exit into a rear garden, which functions as a kind of outdoor reading room. A mixture of seating, from low cushions to cocoonlike rattan lounges to upright chairs, caters to a range of cultural sitting styles.

BKSK Architects
28 West 25th Street
New York, NY 10010
(212) 807-9600
(212) 807-6405

Location: 9 Van Doren Street Plainsboro, NJ 11368

Completion Date: May 2010

Total construction cost: $12.3 million


Township of Plainsboro

BKSK Architects
28 West 25th Street
New York, NY 10010
(212) 807-9600
(212) 807-6405

Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
George Schieferdecker, AIA, LEED AP: Partner-in-charge
Keith Pitocchi, AIA: Project Manager
Erin Carraher, AIA, LEED AP: Project designer
Silvia Steude, LEED AP: Project designer
Michael Yeh: Project designer

Interior designer
Stacey Jattuso

STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: Harrison-Hamnett P.C.  40 Knowles Street, Pennington, NY 08534

Ambrosino, DePinto & Schmieder 
275 Seventh Ave, NY, NY 10001

CME Associates 
3141 Bordentown Ave
Parlin, NJ 08859

H.M. White Site Architects 
130 West 29th Street
NY, NY 10001

Kugler Associates (now Kugler Ning)
49 West 38th Street
NY, NY 10018

Shen, Milsom & Wilke 
44 Princeton Hightstown Rd.
Princeton Junction, NJ 08550

Other - Exterior Envelope:
James Gainfort
Consulting Architect
121 West 27th Street
NY, NY 10001

Other - Graphics & Wayfinding:
Poulin & Morris 
286 Spring Street
NY, NY 10013

Other - Elevator:
Iros Elevator 
884 Paterson Avenue
East Rutherford, N 07073

General contractor: H & S Construction & Mechanical, Inc.

Vanni Archive
(212) 226-1207

Jeffrey Totaro
(215) 925-3732

CAD system, project management, or other software used: Vectorworks



Exterior cladding
Masonry: Lawrenceville Carter’s Grove Moulded (cavity wall)

Metal/glass curtainwall: EFCO 5600 Series Curtain Wall w/custom snap cap profile & custom three-coat flouropolymer by Valspar w/Guardian SN 68 Tinted/clear glass (pearlescent white)

EIFS, ACM, or other: EIFS – Parex Watermaster Commercial VR/DB; aluminum sunshade at stair tower – CS Group (Airfoil Blades)

Built-up roofing: Main Roof & Terraces – Siplast Paradiene 20/30 FR Torchdown Mod. Bit Roof (Terraces have Teranap /M Drain system); Canopy – Kemperol 2K PUR Resinous Cold Fluid-applied roofing system w/granular top coat by Kemper

Steel: Exterior - EFCO 5600 Series Curtain Wall w/custom snap cap profile & custom three-coat flouropolymer by Valspar; Interior – EFCO 5600 Series, clear coat

Skylights: Wasco Dome – skylight

Entrances: All glass & aluminum doors by EFCO, as part of its 5600 Series

Wood doors: Custom wood veneer doors

Fire-control doors, security grilles: Roll-up grilles by McKeon

Upswinging doors, other: Bilco Roof Hatch

Locksets: Sargent asst’d

Hinges: Rixson

Closers: Sargent

Exit devices: McKinney

Pulls: McKinney

Security devices: 3M Book Security Gates

Cabinet hardware: Hafele cab hardware (asstd.); Blumcraft doors

Interior finishes
Acoustical ceilings: Armstrong Optima Dune with Axiom trim

Suspension grid: Armstrong Suprafine XL, Silhouette XL, Interlude XL, 360 Grids

Cabinetwork and custom woodwork: Combo of laminated; Baltic and Birch ply – custom red oak veneer

Paints and stains: ICI at GWB walls

Paneling: Plyboo (Smith and Fong) Bamboo pivoting bamboo veneer wall panels with fabric-wrapped homosote on opposite face of panels (Community Room); Fabric-wrapped acoustic panels (History Room)

Plastic laminate: Abet Laminati, Formica, Wilson Art (asst’d)

Special surfacing: Solid polymer cone on aluminum frame (“Cone of Silence” at Children’s Level)

Floor and wall tile: Daltile “Rittenhouse Square” white w/”Festiva” – spa blue, marine, sea mist (bathroom walls); Daltile Lanka grey 1x1 tile (bathroom floors)

Resilient flooring: Forbo Marmoleum (flooring in all service areas)

Carpet: Shaw Contract Group – “A Walk in the Garden” Collection with Blades pattern and custom colors

Raised flooring: Plyboo (Smith and Fong) Bamboo flooring in Community Room; Stone – 12”x24” “Fieldstone” for Main Entry floor

Dry Stack Pennsylvania Fieldstone Wall on CMU backup; Arriscraft Calcium Silicate units on Grid Worx aluminum grid system on CMU backup

Office furniture: Herman Miller Intent

Reception furniture: Custom millwork with white oak veneer and 3Form resin panels

Chairs: Knoll “Jens Risom Side Chair” for Reading Table chairs; Knoll Bertoia Diamond Chair

Tables: Knoll “Crinion Open Table” for Reading Room tables

Upholstery: banquettes upholstered with Maharam “Repeat” fabric by Dutch industrial designer Hella Jonerius

Other furniture:
Book stacks: Biblomodel cantilever steel shelving

Lounge Seats: Water hyacinth chairs by Project Import Export (P.I.E.) “Tonecoon” and “Sushi Daybed Pe”

Interior ambient lighting: Eureka (Reading Room Pendants); Zumtobel Claris series CSI-1545 (stacks areas); Zumtobel ZX Series; Nippo Seamlessline Series (Main Reading Room); A+L Lighting  (various spaces); Color Kinetics (“Cone of Light”)

Downlights: Edison Price

Task lighting: Translite Sonoma USLA4 (Reading table lights); Translite Sonoma (Stair tread lights)

Exterior: Belfer (exterior canopy); Selfux (exterior canopy)

Elevators/Escalators: Zip Elevator custom hyrdraulic 4 stop

Toilets – Kohler K-4321 Toto w/sensor (low flow)
D.F. – Haws 1105
Urinal – Kohler UT-447
Lavatory – Kohler K-1722