New libraries require new thinking about how to be flexible, transparent, efficient and relevant in a digital era. The Columbus Metropolitan Library’s new Northside Branch meets this reality in dramatic fashion, with a cantilevered “reading loft” that engages High Street, shelters a public plaza at the main entrance, grants visitors an elevated view of the city, and shifts between library-specific functions and outside events as needed.
The interior centers on a “living room” that houses the library’s main collection. Washed with indirect daylight from high above, it is outfitted with comfortable reading zones, study nooks, a coffee bar and a fireplace. Additional spaces — the meeting rooms, children’s zone, teen reading area and quiet lounge — ramp up from the living room and culminate in the reading loft.
The design is also environmentally sensitive: the partially sunken living room will hold its temperature during seasonal extremes, the two-story volume to the south will self-shade the majority of the building, and the landscape will manage storm water runoff.
AIA Columbus, Honor Award
ALA/IIDA Library Interior Design Award
Columbus Landmarks Foundation, James B. Recchie Design Award
IIDA Columbus, Honor Award
Interior Design, Best of Year, Library (finalist)
Columbus Underground, “The Best Architectural Design of 2015,” September 25, 2015
Columbus Business First, “FIRST LOOK: ?Library's new Northside branch designed to be High Street icon,” August 24, 2015