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Atlanta Architects Reimagine Breuer’s Central Library

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For a downtown landmark, this beats the wrecking ball

A cadre of Atlanta architects has been brainstorming in hopes of illustrating — in Technicolor — the potential of downtown’s architecturally significant Atlanta Central Library.

By the looks of the resulting pro-bono renderings, they may have succeeded.

The Atlanta-based Architecture and Design Center, or ADC, teamed with local firm Praxis3 architecture + multidisciplinary design to show how the landmark — the last building by famed Bauhaus-movement architect Marcel Breuer — could be a dynamic fixture on downtown’s landscape again. The 1980 brutalist project appears safe from the wrecking ball now, following talk of demolition (and robust public backlash) earlier this summer.

It's important to note the design work was all unsolicited. But it makes a point.

In announcing the revamped library vision, officials said: "It is our belief that this 20th Century architectural masterpiece can be updated to become an iconic and exemplary 21st Century public library."

This bit is also interesting:

"As most of the building’s volume was intended for bookshelves or conceived of by Breuer as space which the librarians could do with as they pleased, we did not hold the floors and ceilings as sacrosanct and removed sections of floors as needed to improve the functional and aesthetic qualities of the building."

Elements the architects deemed historic — the building’s exterior, much of the basement level, and two sets of monumental stairs — would hardly be touched, save for some striking media projections on the exterior.

The biggest (tentative) ideas would call for reworking Margaret Mitchell Square and incorporating a historical art gallery into the lowest level and a courtyard on the fifth floor. The goal would be more light and openness throughout, with plentiful "flex" space and paeans to Margaret Mitchell, the City of Atlanta, and Breuer himself.

So, without further ado ...

Atlanta Central Library

One Margaret Mitchell Square, , GA 30315 Visit Website