For the last month of the Fall graduate studio, each student designed a civic building for a chosen site within our re-imagined urban plan for the Southwest District of Washington D.C. I chose to design a library that sits adjacent to the community steps that lead down to the waterfront. The site forms the wall for the steps and faces the public plaza that terminates the 10th street linear park at the bottom of the steps. The library nestles three floors into the site where the first floor is on grade below the highway and the roof is on grade above the highway. The main driving concept of the library was to reinforce its form as a response to the context where the above-highway portion assumes a courtyard building type and the portion below the highway assumes a form that expresses the forces of the steps coming through the site and the orientation of the waterfront fabric. An apartment block is built above the library where its first floor retail is made accessible on the roof of the library. With the form established by site constraints, the skin assumes the role of tempering the natural light to create a space suitable for library functions. A cafe is also included in the program to encourage the public to use the library and the public plaza space.