Civic/Cultural Austin Central Library of
Project Info

Austin Central Library

Austin, TX

Overlooking Shoal Creek and Lady Bird Lake, the LEED Platinum Austin Central Library is a building shaped by light and designed to respond to the context of its place. Aspiring to be the most day-lit public library in the nation, the heart of the building is the six-story atrium. which provides daylight for more than 80% of regularly occupied spaces. The unique rooftop butterfly garden and reading porches, inspired by Texan’s love for the outdoors, draw visitors to connect with nature. Serving as the western portal to downtown, the library is a technologically-rich, innovative community hub which establishes a culturally-sensitive, major civic presence and community gathering space in the heart of downtown.


The final design is a 198,000 sq. ft. library that serves as a model for sustainable resource use and library efficiency while promoting visceral connections to collections, history, culture, and place. The facility is based on flexible, blended spaces including indoor collections and reading rooms, outdoor reading porches, maker spaces, technology center, café, bookstore, 350-seat event center, art gallery, outdoor dining, demonstration kitchen and rooftop garden. The learning rooms for children and teenagers create designated spaces for different age groups to enjoy a part of the library tailored for them. Integrated art works enhance this technology-focused environment by showcasing local and national artists. The Austin Central Library is a framework for lifelong learning that creates stronger, more resilient communities.

Lake|Flato & Shepley Bulfinch joint venture.
Photography: Nic Lehoux, Casey Dunn, Andrea Calo, Lara Swimmer


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This is a library that went and studied libraries across the world, to come up with a template for it. This is something that this part of the world has never seen before. We hope people really enjoy it. It’s just as technology rich as you can imagine.
John Gillum
City of Austin Facilities Manager