No Beeswax: New Learning Space in Spokane

The Hive library

The Hive takes the sting out of old-school libraries, as a new collaboration takes flight

written by Cathy Carroll

Get ready, honeys, the sweetest new learning space is opening soon in Spokane. Busy as a bee on a painting? Science project? Burning the midnight oil building a canoe? Or do you just want to read the latest novel getting all the buzz?

Then you’ll want to head to The Hive, a truly 21st-century public library on track to open in July.

The 13,700-square-foot innovation, a partnership between Spokane Public Library and Spokane Public Schools, is a cross-pollination of virtual learning and teacher-training offices with flexible studio/shop spaces where library-card holders can pursue projects over several days or months. By leveraging shared assets, the library and school district can serve a city-wide audience, being available all hours with card key or library card access. 

The gritty, commercial-strip character of Sprague Avenue inspired the building-as-billboard approach, exploring the idea of sign, symbol and image in architecture and the environment. The existing context, cars traveling 40 mph, shop signs and mixed architecture is acknowledged with the use of color, neon and everyday materials such as concrete blocks and corrugated metal, announcing the building while letting it fit, too. 

Storefront-style windows bring in light and make connection with the strip. Garage doors open to a gallery where projects will be displayed amid social gatherings—for queens and drones alike.

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