The Jackson Pulic Library and Supreme Court Building is a project that aimed to revitalize downtown Jackson, Mississippi both architecturally as well as socially. This school project combined the then vacated Eudora Welty Library with a new Supreme Court Building in an effort to draw the public downtown. The original site housed the old, neo-classically designed, Supreme Court building which alongside the adjacent government building created a dead patch in the city where the public rarely spend time.
Though the space is quite large, by dropping the elevation to that of the adjacent neighborhoods, the site becomes more connected with the public that that of Capitol across the street, a symbolic gestrue to the true intent of the project, to bring people back downtown. Though the Architecture resonds more directly to the Capitol the ultimate goal of the overall project is the promotion of social activity.
In an effort to invigorate an area through architecture, it is often the response of the designer to refute its failing environment, and excite through contrast. This, especially in a place like Mississippi, is often poorly recieved. With a building like a Capitol Library and Supreme Court Building we must lend ourselves to the environment and embrace some of the surrounding brutalist form that became popular in 1960's Jackson and use some of the similar materials to allow the structure to comfortably exist next to buildings like the Capitol and the Sellers Building, two of Jacksons more iconic buildings each constructed of concrete and stone.
"To understand the world, you must first understand a place like Mississippi." A view inside the Faulkner reading room.
The most identifiable element of the design is the tounge like lawn that extends from the building down to the public green. This element is intended to brand the building as a public space allowing both library visitors and random pedestrians to lounge in sunshine, enjoy lunch and take in the view of the Capitol. Other elements of the design that promote social activity are the large public plazas and sitting areas, rotating local art galleries within the library, cafe and restaurants that open onto an elevated plaza with an orchard, and a public reception space that can house private parties, lecture series, or other civic events.
A view of the library main entrance, as well as the transitional space between the central plaza and West Street.
View that considers the future development of surrouding area.
View from an office in the Sellers Building.
The building terminates in the main reading room with the view focused on the Capitol Building across the street. A symbolic gesture suggesting that while we move forward, we will always be looking back.
View from Capitol green.
View of walk under building from West street to interior courtyard. The site has extensive landscaping and has water features strategically placed throughout the site to combat the noise of the downtown and to denote places of transition.
The site is located between two distinct zones with in the city, at the edge between commercial and residential Jackson. The site already houses the largest office building in the city and has existing parking capable of accomodating significantly more traffic. The new library has a cafe with both coffee houses and restaurants to attract the over 500 employees that work in the Sellers and surrounding area. The building provides ample sitting area both at the exterior plaza that the cafe opens up to as well as down in the lower courtyard which allows the public to eat lunch and socailize both during the day but especially at night. After five o'clock Jackson becomes largely shut down as the city has become a commuter city. This site, at the edge of the residential areas, could begin to bridge the gap between downtown and the residences of the city and begin to provide the city safe, active places during the evening.
Maintaing a central alleyway is a requirement of the site and provides a dramatic view from the residential zones up to the capitol. By skewing the building on the site, views from inside the building, the street behind as well as N West Steet to the west remain unimpeded, a perspective not afforded by the previous building. The courtyard has a permeable surface and natural vegetation as well as several water features to drown out the city noise.