Coen + Partners’ design strategy for the Minneapolis Central Library claims a zone around the building equal to one city block. The goal is to use the library’s perimeter to connect and attract people to the block, while celebrating the important and civic role of the library in downtown Minneapolis.
By improving the adjacent spaces, the library and its site merge with the fabric of the city. This ‘library district’ is created through implementing and then repeating a rich palette of materials.
The site concept is based on the repetition of structural columns within the building and on a democratic approach to entrance which doesn’t prescribe a specific path of travel. As a field of slender lights, the structural columns extend beyond the façade into the landscape, claiming the block and creating a modern space influenced by the action of the building. Extending this grid into the site heightens the complex geometry of the library’s façade and interior. An elevated slate and birch garden wraps the building to the north along 3rd Street, creating an outdoor seating area and a visual buffer for the first floor of the library.
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Select Awards: 2007 ASLA Award (MN Chapter)
Collaboration: Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects and Architectural Alliance
Select Publications: Minneapolis Star Tribune, Architecture Minnesota
Photography: Peter Kerze, Coen + Partners
COEN + PARTNERS WINS THE 2015 SMITHSONIAN COOPER-HEWITT NATIONAL DESIGN AWARD
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