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Columbus Metropolitan Library: Driving Park Branch


Project Description


Background: Driving Park is the first newly built branch library in the Columbus Metropolitan Library’s 20/20 vision plan – its first major facilities overhaul in 25 years. Libraries are faced with the ever-increasing challenge of maintaining relevance in a context where time is scarce, information is everywhere, learning is ever more collaborative, and technology is constantly changing. The new 15,000-square-foot design aims to address the challenge of what it means to be a library in the information age, but it is also tasked with providing a community with a much-needed catalyst for solidarity and positive change.
Concept: Through engagement with the library staff and its constituents, and through research, the design team aimed to understand what the library needs now and what it could need in the future. Libraries have themselves been in transformation; their purpose becoming less a singular point of knowledge dissemination, to a place that provides a platform to meet, socialize, study, hang-out, and plug-in. Driving Park is a place that finds itself in transition, with a demographic that needs a place to read and think, but also to talk and gather. In the project design we turn the library inside out. By cutting the traditional library open, we can turn it in on itself, and put traditional modes of library patronage to the center of the building – those that would benefit from quiet repose, natural light, and the contentment of purpose. At the same time, we can push those uses that require interactivity, action and multi-functionality to the perimeter where they profit from street engagement and access to technology.
Expression: All of these uses are framed by an architectural language that is modern, contextual, flexible and transparent. Driving Park was made relevant through its connection to racing and aviation. In that light, this project proposes the idea of a racetrack to be used as an organizing architectural element in delineating function, but also providing value in its performance as an envelope, a circulation lattice, and book/media display.
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