The existing Forsyth County Central Library in downtown Winston-Salem is a conglomeration of two building that were built 30 years apart and connected at a single point of circulation, awkwardly splitting the library program in two.
Wishing to create a transformative “third place” for this city of 235,000 and provide new services for library patrons, Forsyth County selected RATIO to renovate and expand the building and its offerings.
After careful study, the design team decided to selectively demolish dysfunctional parts of the existing building, renovate functional areas (approximately 50,000 sq. ft.) and add a new 50,000 sq. ft. addition in a way that responds to the needs and program of a 21st-century central library, with space for a café, an outdoor reading garden, an auditorium and a technology petting zoo. In addition, the façade of the building will be reinvented to respond to the scale and energy of downtown Winston-Salem.
The guiding strategy is to consolidate the library program into a simpler volume that allows seamless connection between the various parts of the building and a more flexible layout to accommodate the evolution of the central library in the future.