September 11, 2014

The new Austin library should be a big hit with culinary enthusiasts.Austin culinary school students may have noticed the construction currently occurring on the downtown public library. If they haven’t yet, it’s definitely something that they’re going to want to take note of. The library, which the Austin American-Statesman reports is being designed and constructed by LakeFlato, an architectural firm in San Antonio, will feature a number of exciting culinary components in addition to the traditional brick and mortar model.

The Statesman reports that the library will feature an event space with seating for 300 people and its own full service catering kitchen, as well as a complete restaurant and one of the largest culinary demonstration spaces in all of Austin. While the construction won’t be done until sometime in 2016, the library and its food-driven features are already garnering quite a bit of attention around town. That may be well deserved, as Austin 360 reports that the 198,000 square foot renovation is coming with a price tag of over $120 million.

In speaking with The Statesman, Steve Raike explained the changing needs of the library are deeply influenced by the way accessibility to information has evolved in the last few decades. Raike, one of the lead architects for LakeFlato, believes the space will benefit the community by serving as a communal meeting place that draws in all demographics.

“Amazon has made us really think about this: if the information is really available in the palm of your hand, what is it about the library that is really important? it’s where we gather as a community to learn and share ideas and come together,” said Raike.

While the ultimate uses for the culinary equipment and demonstration space in the library are yet to be determined, the Statesman has indicated that the size of the kitchen in the library’s six-story atrium will make it one of the most accessible such spaces in Austin.