Congratulations to Columbus Metropolitan Library, winner of the 30th James B. Recchie Design Award for the Main Library renovation and expansion! The project team included architects Schooley Caldwell and GUND Partnership, as well as landscape architect MKSK.
“The Main Library demonstrates the Columbus Metropolitan Library’s commitment to creating spaces that inspire and serve the public in a constantly changing library environment,” according to Nancy Recchie, sister of the award’s namesake. “This landmark building will continue Andrew Carnegie’s vision to be a library that is open and welcoming to all,” she added.
This is the fourth James B. Recchie Design Award for Columbus Metropolitan Library system having won in 1991 for the previous Main Library renovation and expansion; in 2015 for the Driving Park Branch; and in 2018 for the North Side Branch.
The Main Library has been a landmark in downtown Columbus since it was funded by Andrew Carnegie and completed in 1907. The most recent renovation and expansion involved a complete remaking of the library to meet the needs of a 21st century library. Major features include the connection, both visually and physically, with the Topiary Garden; creation of a two-story flexible reading room and public gathering space; the introduction of natural light throughout and view of the outside from within; and connections to and renovation of the historic Carnegie Library building. The grounds of the library also received significant attention with the redesign of the front plaza area and the creation of public spaces connecting the library to the park.
The four other finalists for this year’s award were the Michael B. Coleman Government Center; National Veterans Memorial & Museum; OSU Pomerene Hall; and The View on Grant.
The James B. Recchie Award recognizes urban design including the preservation, restoration, rehabilitation or adaptive re-use of historic buildings, additions to historic buildings, new building design, landscape design, and public art. Following a public nomination process, five finalists were selected by a screening committee. Jurors then determined the winner after making site visits. The 2019 jurors were Charissa Durst, AIA, LEED AP, Hardlines Design; Peter Krajnak, AIA, NCARB, Rogers Krajnak Architects; and Ed Mickelson, FASLA, NBBJ.