Austin Central Library

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Architectural & Daylighting


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City of Austin

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Austin, TX

Award winning sustainability in central Austin

Named one of the top five libraries in the world by the AIA and American Library Association, Austin’s New Central Library looks out over Lady Bird Lake in downtown Austin. At 198,000 square feet, this LEED Platinum and AIA COTE Top 10 library is built on an 85-acre former brownfield site being transformed into a vibrant urban hub. The six-story atrium is flooded with daylight and at night is indirectly lit for soft ambient light supplemented with carefully focused accent lights highlighting architectural features, artwork, and the six stairways and bridges traversing the open atrium. Over 80% of the regularly occupied spaces area is daylit with responsive controls. The low energy electric lighting and extensive daylighting are instrumental in this achievement. Besides extensive stack areas the facility includes reading rooms, outdoor reading porches, maker spaces, a technology center, a bookstore, a 350-seat event center, art gallery, outdoor dining, demonstration kitchen, and rooftop garden. The façade scrim is backlit and the interior glow the structure has a refined nighttime presence while meeting the City’s strict lighting ordinance. Dynamic controls maintain light levels in the daylit spaces, including the stacks.

Arguably the most daylit library in the nation, the nearly 200,000-square-foot building is defined by a light-soaked, six-story atrium surrounded by the book collections and event space. The project achieved LEED Platinum certification.

Project Scope

Architectural & Daylighting



Clanton & Associates has developed street and pedestrian lighting master plans, lighting criteria, tours, pilot demonstrations, surveys, lighting measurements, and lighting research projects. Our extensive experience in creating street lighting master plans and guidelines for cities, assists our clients in making informed decisions regarding street lighting design to plan for the future of smart cities.