Re-establishing the main library as a source of community empowerment.


Columbus Metropolitan Library

Vision × Architectural Guidelines × Stakeholder Engagement

Role: Creative Director
Studio: Bruce Mau Design

The Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML) is consistently ranked as one of the best public library systems in America. Backed by broad public support, the CML was preparing a major renovation of their Main branch in Downtown Columbus.

Changing contexts — both in the city of Columbus and in the way the public engages with information — had rendered the Main branch increasingly obsolete. The renovation project would re-establish the Main branch as a primary attraction in the downtown and to re-assert its relevance as a leading contributor to successful citizens.

The team partnered with NBBJ Architects to create a new vision for the library, and an accompanying Space Needs Assessment, that serve as the foundation of the redesign and a springboard for the renovation.

The team created a flexible yet purposeful toolkit for the architects to create an exceptional renovation in-line with the mission of the CML. Findings included 56,000 square feet of recoverable public space, the need to organize space-types around the key behaviours that the library wants to foster, and strategies to accommodate future evolutions of information technology.