Faced with broad, metal shingles and ochre-painted concrete and brick, the contemporary-looking, 19,500-square-foot Lochwood Dallas Public Library, which will open this month, is a strong contrast to the rundown property that sat abandoned for the past several years. A YMCA once occupied the site on Lochwood near Garland Road, and the new building utilizes some of the original building — it’s an act of recycling and part of an attempt to achieve LEED Gold Certification, a measure of the building’s eco-friendliness and sustainability. David Darnell, internal operations administrator for the Dallas Public Library, describes the new Lochwood building, in form, as a “response to the big box Home Depot” across the street. The building is designed like a “periscope”, using natural daylight to illuminate the interior, Darnell says. “Instead of looking like another large box, it gives you the feeling that it is ascending into the sky.”

Water tanks on the site collect rainwater from the roof and paved areas, and the water is used, in part, to irrigate the “water-wise” landscaping.

In function, the library contains the expected stacks and inventory, a large divisible classroom, areas for adults and children, a teen center — which includes laptop computers — and a 1,500-square-foot black-box theater that will serve myriad educational and cultural purposes.

The new library replaces the Casa View branch, which will soon close.

“As always, there is concern when a branch is closed,” but Darnell says most of Casa View’s patrons can conveniently use Lochwood, while others who live farther east will be served by the White Rock Hills Branch on Ferguson, west of North Buckner, which is slated to open in 2011.

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