The first branch library constructed by the Metropolitan Library System in over 30 years, the Patience S. Latting Northwest Library combines imagery of the Oklahoma prairie with the technology and purpose of a modern library. Only the second Oklahoma City project to be registered for LEED certification, sustainability drove many design decisions. Energy demand was decreased by 30 percent with a ground-source geothermal system and generous natural day lighting. Heat gain was decreased with deep roof overhangs and reflective roofing materials.
Borrowing from Oklahoma’s unique sense of place, the design of the public library integrates local iconography in the form of the building. A large horizontal roof plane, constructed of steel wide flange beams and bar joists, framing is supported by a series of derrick like monitors, creating an iconic roofline set against the surrounding suburban neighborhood. The adjacent native grasslands roll up under the roof creating an elliptical knoll that embraces the library program within. As one moves, closer to the building a slice in the earthen form leads to the trellised main building entry.
Once inside the building, large forms transition to organizing elements that create a clear programmatic layout. The underside of the roof plane is skinned with cedar planks that slide above all the interior spaces and continue out to the edge of the exterior overhang. Several derrick forms define space with their steel structure, while others are skinned in glass creating study rooms. The earthen knoll is held back from the program space with board formed concrete walls that roll up and down along the perimeter building.
For long-term flexibility and visual control, the primary reading room is a large singular space. The primary collections are organized around the primary service desk located under a skylight monitor adjacent to the technology zone and media areas. The diagonal corners are open for passage to the adult lounge, story time, and young adult areas. This configuration maximizes visual control of the library and provides for maximum separation of quiet areas from those with more activity. Quiet lounge areas are organized adjacent to the windowed areas along the north and east, maximizing views and access to natural daylight.