Ann Hirsch Sculpture Studio, LLC.
Albany Branch of the Hartford Public Library, Hartford, CT

The design centers on the creation of a threshold for growth and on books as the foundation for community and compassion.

The form of this threshold which is based on an ancient architectural strategy, post and lintel, will be a cast stone gateway made up of books that represent the neighborhood's rich cultural diversity. The structure of the Gateway and the units of books that comprise it symbolize the act of building foundations through education and building community through shared heritage. The books send a tangible and clear message that education is the foundation of this strong community.

Books are a powerful vehicle for the sharing of diverse heritages across language and cultural barriers. The books' spines bear titles that reflect the city's past and current cultures. Many book titles will appear more than once as translated into the different languages spoken in the neighborhood. Titles are arrived at collaboratively through discussions with representatives from the library and community.

The Gateway holds the space as a formidable structure while signifying solidity and stability. At the same time, the opening through the Gateway is an invitation for interaction. The space through it activates the area by creating an axis between the library and other nearby cultural institutions.

By using an architectural form that symbolizes transition and creates a passageway and place that refers to both the contents of the library and the context of its diverse community, the Gateway will become a place for dialogue, reflection, inclusion, education and celebration.

Size and Materials:
Cast, pigmented and sealed concrete, approximately 6'h. x 5'w. x 1­1/4'd.