1. New Central Library
Acknowledging the growing obsolescence of traditional libraries (thanks, internet), Austin voted in 2006 to build a smart, six-story, $120-million library/cultural center overlooking Lady Bird Lake. The new hub will leverage technology (tablets, state-of-the-art search tools, e-readers, gaming consoles, etc.) and a blended, multi-use layout to bring a modernized well of information and artistic enrichment to the public. Perks at the New Central Library (710 West Cesar Chavez St) will include a 350-seat amphitheater for screenings and discussions, kitchen for culinary demonstrations and classes, age-targeted reading areas, rooftop garden, art installations, cafe, and zero-waste bookstore, among others. The Lake Flato Architects- and Shepley Bulfinch-designed center will operate 30% more efficiently than the law requires and will open in November 2016.