Hunters Point Library

The new Queens Library at Hunters Point by Steven Holl Architects is an aesthetic interruption amidst the commercial skyline of Long Island City’s waterfront. To address the growing demand for increased public space along the waterfront, the library will serve as both public institution and park, utilizing a compact plan to maximize the amount of green space distributed over the site.


Three large apertures carved into the facade necessitate a delicate balance between natural and synthetic light used in different levels throughout the day. In response, L’Observatoire International developed a minimal approach both inside and outside of the library. By lighting the exterior of the building from the ground, a softened contrast between each window and the materiality of the facade is achieved. Each of the voids corresponds with an element of the building’s program, revealing the children’s, teen, and adult sections as distinctive parts otherwise experienced as seamless.


When lit at night, the voids can be read as a supergraphic in conversation with the historic “Long Island” and “Pepsi-Cola” signs visible from Manhattan. Forming a triangle with Le Corbusier’s United Nations building and Louis Kahn’s Franklin D. Roosevelt Monument, the Hunter’s Point Library completes a subtle trifecta, redirecting attention to the oft-overlooked but burgeoning waterfront.

Location Queens, New York, USA
Date Completed 2019
Architect Steven Holl Architects
Client New York City Department of Design and Construction
Type Universities + Libraries
size22,000 ft2 / 2,000 m2
Status Built

L'Observatoire Intl Team
Principal Hervé Descottes
Project Leader Wei Jien
Project Team Papon Kasettratat Carlos Garcia Esteban Varas Gianni Franceschi
Awards AIA New York Merit Award , 2020
AN's Best of Design Awards Honorable Mention , 2020
Press Architectural Record, Nov 2019
Photo Credits Paul Warchol