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Morris Frank Library

p r o j e c t  Morris

Frank Library, Houston

The Morris Frank Library, designed by m Architects

c l i e n t  Houston

Public Library

of Houston and completed in 2009, represents a new

a r c h i t e c t  m

direction in services for the Houston Public Library


d e s i g n t e a m  Michael Morton, AIA; Derek Webb, AIA; Mara McCum-

System. Relocated from its original building, the library

ber, Assoc. AIA

now resides on the ground floor of an existing atrium

design builder 

SpawMaxwell Company, a Balfour Beatty



building in a revitalized low-income area of Houston.


The primary emphasis for the $2.5 million facility is

Company (MEP); Garza + McLain (structural); Lauren

to provide expanded access to computers and digital

Griffith Associates (landscape); Infrastructure Associates (civil);

media for residents of the local community. The bulk of

Landtech Consultants (survey); Geotest Engineering (geotechni-

the program is dedicated to computer workstations and

c o n s u l t a n t s   HRE

community teaching areas. Reading areas, study rooms,

cal) p h o t o g r a p h e r  G.

and support spaces round out the 9,000-sf facility.

Lyon Photography







r e s o u r c e s site , street and mall furnishings :

Landscape Forms; rail-

glazing reduce energy usage. Interior glazing was re-

Alucobond (Southern Architectural Systems); laminates : Wilsonart;

used. Finishes and furniture were selected for durability,

solid surfaces : DuPont Corian (Colt Industries); metal doors and frames :

ease of maintenance, recycled content, and low VOC

CURRIES (Chapman Smidt Hardware);

entrances and storefronts :

counts. The design is a break from the traditional style

Horton Automatics; plastic glazing : Panelite; gypsum board framing :

evident in Houston’s older public libraries. Structure and

Dietrich Metal Framing; gypsum fabrications : USG; tile : DalTile; metal

mechanical lines were left exposed and painted black

ceilings :

Armstrong, Ceilings Plus; rubber flooring : Nora Systems;

to provide a sense of openness despite the existing low

acoustical wall treatments : Armstrong; paints : Sherwin-Williams; high

floor-to-ceiling elevations. The computer workstations

performance coatings :

TRIARCH Duroplex (Kenmark Architectural

and millwork were custom designed by the architects.

Products); signage and graphics : Neiman & Co.; exterior sun control

A strong emphasis on the use of color provides visual

devices :

Construction Specialties (Wade Architectural Systems);

excitement and cues to different programmatic areas.

library equipment: Kingsley, 3M, MJ Shelving (Cultural Surroundings);

A dedicated exterior entrance courtyard and canopy is

design software :

carved into the existing building’s facade.

Autodesk AutoCAD (Total CAD Systems)

N o e l l e

2 0 1 0

1 4

systems, and natural light from full-height perimeter

Texas Metal Tek; composite aluminum panel system :

ings and handrails :



Low-voltage and zoned lighting, efficient mechanical

5 / 6


floor plan 1 entrance/lobby 2 circulation/exhibit 3 adult reading area 4 children’s reading area 5 teen’s reading area 6 Teen’s gaming lounge 7 Meeting room 8 conference room 9 study room 10 staff work area

H e i n z e

t e x a s

a r c h i t e c t


Texas Architect May/June 2010: Health