Benning Library

Washington, District of Columbia

New Construction


Davis Brody Bond Aedas
New York, New York


DC Public Library
Washington, District of Columbia

General Contractor

Forrester Construction Company
Rockville, Maryland

Sheet Metal Contractor

CHU Contracting, Inc.
Chantilly, Virginia

Copper's warm glow helps ignite the spark of learning in this flexible community library.

The Benning Library is the first in a series of new libraries in Washington D.C. that are designed to be flexible and open, to meet the needs of the community now and in the future. Benning Library is terraced into a sloped site along Benning Road, N.E.

The two floors of the 22,000 square foot, $12 million facility are connected by a public stair inside the building, creating a space which encourages pedestrian circulation through the library in order to connect one street elevation to another. Benning Library utilizes a warm color palette of earth tones and a copper panel facade to complement its residential setting. The completed facility includes community spaces on the lower level including a 100-person multipurpose room, two 12-person conference rooms and a public gathering and exhibition space. The upper level of the library houses the library's collection, which on opening day will include 40,000 books, DVDs, CDs and other library materials. The library has space to allow the collection to expand to up to 80,000 items. Additionally, the upper level features separate reading areas for adults, teens and children, as well as the children's program area.

The library is situated in a bowl-like condition with ample southern exposure. Approximately 315 copper panels chosen for the exterior reflect the sun and provide a warm glow in the late afternoon. The copper is 16 oz. copper arranged in 18" panel widths with 1" standing seams over ¾" plywood sheathing on structural metal studs. The copper clad volumes house the library reading rooms and administrative spaces on the building's upper level.

Copper was chosen in large part because it is a "green" material, comprised almost entirely of recycled content and will require minimal maintenance.

Architectural Category: Standing Seam Roofs and Walls