Location: Sutton, Alaska
Client: Matanuska-Susitna Borough
Market Sectors: Community
Completed in the summer of 2012, the Sutton Library/Community Resource Center is a 6,250 sf center designed for approximately 13,600 volumes. The library is located immediately north of Sutton’s Alpine Historical Park and shares the park’s parking lot and water well. Sharing these facilities helped reduce some of the construction costs for the new library, minimized the need to provide on-site parking on the library’s small site, and created a draw for people to visit the park as well as the library.
A bright, clerestory lit lobby provides access to the community room and public restrooms which are available for community use after normal library hours. The circulation desk is centrally located to provide control of visitors entering and leaving the library and visual control of the stacks and reading areas. The main space in the library is reminiscent of the coal washery spaces with its clerestory windows that provided daylight to the coal washing area. The main reading room includes adult and juvenile reading areas, study carrels, resource shelves, and eight public access computer workstations. The reading room features a “living room” area organized around a fireplace with access to an outdoor patio.
Working from historic photos, the new facility is designed with many sustainable building materials and technologies. The roof form and soffits, reminiscent of the coal washery roof shapes, are designed as a cold roof to reduce ice damage while maintaining a cathedral type interior space. The exterior finishes were designed to be compatible with the details of the park’s buildings, resulting in a sustainable design that respects its neighbors, the community of Sutton, and the local culture and history.