Libraries, *On the Boards

Columbus Library, City Hall & Children’s Museum

The Columbus Community Building is the new home for the public library, city hall, and children’s museum. This shared facility supports the City’s vision to provide a downtown anchor vital to offering egalitarian services enriched by human connection. The three-story, 78,000 sq. ft. facility features a library designed around 21st century library principles, a flexible community room with adjacent teaching kitchen, a two-story volume for children’s exhibits, a tenant-finish coffee shop and a front porch with outdoor learning environments and play.

A front porch warmly recalls a place of gathering, a place where all are welcome. The inclusivity a porch connotes is the message the City desires to portray for its people and visitors. The front porch provides strong physical and visual connections to the two-story library, children’s museum, and coffee shop. Daylight analysis influenced the porch design and setback to minimize glare in the library. In addition, it provides much-needed play space for downtown Columbus.

The library is spread between two levels and is designed to maximize operational efficiencies while serving as the central hub for the city of Columbus. Unique programs include a business incubator, a family living room, a children’s craft room, a gaming area, dedicated teen space, a creative incubator, two maker spaces, a heritage room, a variety of open and enclosed meeting rooms, and an “Idea Box” for community display. Collection shelving is sprinkled throughout both levels of the library with interspersed lounge and study spaces. All of the library spaces are designed to be adaptable with reconfigurable furniture and flexible technology.

The city hall office is located on the third floor and features a neighborhood workplace environment where private offices are internally-placed, leaving the perimeter glass facade open for natural light and views. Subsequent to this layout are informal breakout areas and workstations that gain access to light and views. Additional programming for city hall includes a diverse offering of private meeting rooms and a shared break space for library and city employees with connection to a rooftop deck.

BVH is employing optimization software to calibrate the facade glass percentages, views and daylight control. Careful attention has been given to creating interior environments that mitigate glare and heat gain for the maximum benefit of human comfort and prolonged usability. Biophilic design with materiality, environmental graphics and connection to the outdoors will promote wellness for those that work and visit this facility. A target energy usage index (EUI) for this facility is 13 which is an 80% reduction in energy consumption for a comparable building. These measures will provide an efficient building for the city to operate and maximize human comfort.  

With this new facility, the City will be able to offer elevated public services, enhance early literacy, stimulate economic development, and attract and retain new talent to the community.

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