When Hacker Architects redesigned a historic, 1969 branch library in the southeastern Bayview neighborhood of San Francisco in 2013, the firm wanted to make sure that the building continued to serve as an educational and communal space for the area. As such, added sustainability measures were included to support the environmental goals for the library but also to act as teaching tools for the community.

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bus driving past a wood library with several windows

The library replaced an original building on the same site and features green design elements, such as solar panels and a lush green roof, that earned it LEED Gold certification. Despite its modern, sustainable technologies, the project honors its history and celebrates the local culture and community in its design.

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On the left, people walking into a wood library. On the right, green roof on top of a library building.
people sitting on wood bench outside a wood library

In the center of the library, a courtyard brings in natural ventilation and light, all while providing visitors with views of an urban garden. Floor-to-ceiling windows allow natural light even deeper into the building. The library’s green roof is also visible from the inside. The vegetation, mostly native grasses and perennials, on the roof helps filter stormwater runoff, while the onsite electricity is generated through solar panels. Additionally, a natural ventilation system inside helps to maintain a comfortable temperature throughout the interior.

reception desk in a bright library with walls of glass
groups of people at tables inside a library

The 9,000-square-foot library was renamed in 2015 to commemorate Linda Brooks-Burton, who worked as the head librarian of the branch from 1995 until 2011. Brooks-Burton was an advocate for education, co-founding the Bayview History Preservation Project and the Bayview Footprints Network of Community Building Groups in 2007 and 2008, respectively. Brooks-Burton passed away unexpectedly in 2013, just months after the library was rebuilt.

beige sofas near wall of glass
tree growing in the middle of a courtyard

The building received the 2013 Sustainability Award from the Portland, Oregon chapter of the American Institute of Architects San Francisco and was named a New Landmark Library by the Library Journal. Karin Payson Architecture and Design (KPa+d) was awarded the Kirby Ward Fitzpatrick Prize by the San Francisco Architectural Foundation for its role as associate architect and interior designer for the project.

+ Hacker Architects

Photography by Bruce Damonte via Hacker Architects

solar panels on a roof