Savannah, GA’s Live Oak Public Library system recently opened its newest, state-of-the-art branch on the south side (Southwest Chatham) of the historic city. The library, Chatham County’s first to open in twenty years, is also its first LEED registered building. At 50,000 square feet, the southwest Chatham branch is the second largest library in the system. Watch video
In its effort to create a magical place for families to explore lifetime learning together in a welcoming environment, the library commissioned NatureMaker to create its first “Giving Tree” around a prominent structural column in the children’s department. Befitting the library’s moniker, as well as the region’s most famous tree, NatureMaker spent months researching the nuances of the live oak tree, including a detailed study of the bark texture, growth patterns, characteristics and so-called “imperfections.”
The structural column measures 10’ tall. NatureMaker’s design intent was to create the forced perspective of the oak tree growing beyond the first floor ceiling, as if the library had “preserved” a specimen tree on its property and built the children’s reading room around it. The intricate canopy of limbs, branches and foliage extends around 18’, providing a warm, nurturing ambiance that encourages reading and story telling under the mythical tree. Additional touches of whimsy and realism include Spanish moss that is seamlessly growing from some of the tree branches. The oak tree not only adds a decorative function to the column, it also creates a central focal point and meeting place for the children. The authentic look and feel of the trunk conveys a sense of “awe” that invites touch, close examination and sense of well-being.
Commemorative leaves are available to be added to the tree as an exceptional gift opportunity to honor and remember special friends of the library.
Live Oak Public Library’s architect, Greenline Architecture of Savannah, developed the original concept for the oak tree.
From concept through completion of installation, the project spanned almost two years. The custom handcrafting of the tree started in late 2008, on schedule for the library’s October 2009 grand opening.
In the past month, the library has been a major success for the community, generating widespread public interest and acclaim, as well as overflow crowds of library lovers young and old. Plans are now in the works for two new branch libraries.