Support Salvation Army Wildfire Relief

Winston-Salem community gets first look at Central Library design concept

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

This is an artist's rendering of the north facade of the Forsyth County Central Library. (Photo via The Winston-Salem Journal)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — A café, outdoor reading garden, 308-seat auditorium, technology petting zoo — these are all part of the concept for a renovated Forsyth County Central Library, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.

Ratio Architects presented an overview at the county commissioner briefing this afternoon of the conceptual design and early floor plans for the project.

Designers’ schematic designs call for tearing down the 1950s front portion of the Central Library and gutting the 1979 addition. New space would be built where the front half used to stand, but there would be more lawn space for outdoor activities.

Hal Bowen, principal in charge for Ratio Architects, said afterward that the building would have about 103,000 square feet, with almost 50,000 from the existing structure and the remainder new construction.

“It’s not going to be anything like the existing library,” Bowen said.

“It’s time for reinvention of this building,” Jesse Green, project architect, told the commissioners.

With more glass and windows inside and out, the building would promote more of an open feel.

The front entrance would lead to a central area with technology, new reading materials and more. The children’s library would be to the left, with a small outdoor program space connected.

To the right would be a 308-seat auditorium, other event space and a café. Public computers would also be available on the first floor, as would the technology petting zoo, which would allow customers to test out various devices.

The North Carolina Room would take up a large portion of the second floor and would be given state-of-the-art climate control. There would be a public reading room there. Teen Central would be in one area, and administrative offices in another. Maker Space would also be provided, where people could come to create anything from a traditional craft to a video.

The general collection would be on the third floor, where windows would provide surrounding views of the city and mountains to the north. A covered roof terrace would be on the north side of the building. There would also be a reading room.

The parking lot under the back of the building would remain. There would also be a one-story elevator there to take people directly to the main floor of the building.

Bowen said that Radio Architects is confident the design can be built within the total project budget of $28 million. Frank L. Blum Construction Co., as the construction manager at risk, did cost estimates and value engineering for the designs.