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Leesville Community Library, Raleigh, N.C.

Leesville Community Library was conceived as a pavilion in the trees, an elevated forest perch for reading and enjoying natural views.

Leesville Community Library was conceived as a pavilion in the trees, an elevated forest perch for reading and enjoying natural views. The structure is designed as two volumes: a smaller, heavier brick mass with workrooms, offices, a break room, toilets and mechanical spaces, and a larger public space with book stacks and reading tables.

Aluminum and insulated glass walls surround the pavilion with continuous glazing along the tops of the walls. This creates the illusion that the wood roof is floating above the space, designed by Cherry Huffman Architects. The lower portions of the glass walls are punctuated with Umicore Building Products USA Inc.'s VMZinc panels or brick to provide increased insulation to the building envelope.

Another building material was needed to reduce the amount of glass and provide higher energy efficiency. Zinc was selected to complement the aluminum storefront and provide a contrast to the brick volume. The aluminum storefront manufacturer provided a paint color to match it. Additionally, zinc siding was installed as a rainscreen to help create a watertight building envelope.

Natural materials were utilized throughout the library to complement the natural setting. Red clay brick, natural patina zinc panels and honey-colored woods create a unified palette.

Leesville Community Library's main structure is steel columns and laminated wood beams. The roof structure is exposed glue-laminated timber beams and tongue-and-groove wood decking. The laminated timbers provide a structural system that can handle long spans for large open spaces with shelving.

Daylighting was a primary consideration and the long axis of the building is oriented to maximize southern and northern exposures. The overhang on the southern exposure controls solar gain and glare, and the northern exposure brings indirect natural light deep into the building. The forest is thick enough to shade the building year-round.

Architect: Cherry Huffman Architects, Raleigh

Metal wall panels: Umicore Building Products USA Inc., Raleigh, www.vmzinc-us.com