Austin’s Central Library, which has already become an identifying landmark in the city, is no stranger to praise (or popularity—have you been there on a Saturday?), including piles of awards. Now it has received more high-profile plaudits, from Time magazine no less, which named it one of the “World’s Greatest Places” to visit in 2018.
Joining some spectacular places across the globe—the reinvented Tai Kwun building in Hong Kong, the Louvre Abu Dhabi, and The Golden Bridge in Ba Na Hills in Vietnam—the Lake/Flato-Shepley Bullfinch building was lauded for its striking as well as sustainable design. Its central, six-story atrium, surrounded by collections, event space, and reading porches overlooking the lake and Shoal Creek were highlighted. The magazine was also impressed by the 14 shared learning rooms, the rooftop butterfly garden, the “technology petting zoo,” the dramatic events space, and the cookbook-themed coffee shop, which features the collection of the late, influential local food writer Virginia B. Wood.
Time also noted that the building is packed with sustainable features, including the bicycle-repair and parking garage and the rooftop cistern that runs rainwater to the bathrooms, and, of course its Platinum LEED certification. It’s also quintessentially of its place, bringing the surrounding natural world and its influences into the design—something that was likely an important criterion for Time’s list.
The 198,000-square-foot building also recently made the list of five finalists for the International Federation of Library Association’s (IFLA) Public Library of the Year prize. The winner will be announced on August 28.