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Chinatown Branch Library 

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Chicago, Illinois, USA 

As finalists in the design competition for the New Chinatown Branch Library, the JGMA-Madison design-build team developed a project that takes into consideration the history and significance of Chicago’s Chinatown while looking forward to a new vision for a community celebrating its centennial anniversary.  Part community center, part media center, part tourist attraction and cultural arts center, the library is as much a destination as it is a functional public amenity. 

Designed to take advantage of the particular site location, JGMA’s proposal provides a strong link between the historic Chicago Chinatown corridor to the south and the more recent Chinatown plaza and developments to the north.  The generative concept of the design lies in the traditional Chinese garden courtyard, which provides an unfolding entry procession and a public place for community gathering or individual contemplation.  The courtyard canopy provides a feeling of enclosure while functioning as a new Chinatown gate–the opportunity to pass through from the old to the new. 

The design team for this LEED Platinum-seeking project included Madison Construction, Buro Happold, Site Design, Forefront Engineers, Knight, Fun Finders, R.M. Chin & Associates and the Zhou B. Art Center. 

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