Jonathan Barnes
Architecture & Design


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Reynoldsburg Library

Reynoldsburg, Ohio | 2024

As part of Vision 2020, a 20-project aspirational public library building program for the Columbus Metropolitan Library system, the Reynoldsburg Library was envisioned as a place for learning, achieving, and convening by means of an iconic building with a grand, civic scale and a focus on equitable and accessible spaces and responsive, performative design.

The building is sited on a property once occupied by the former Reynoldsburg library and adjacent to a main vehicular artery and the natural setting of the Alum Creek Watershed. The site design response was critical to the resultant architecture and accomplishes three goals: 1) establish an urban edge and street presence, 2) create a porous object on the site, allowing views and access between the urban edge and the open, Public Commons at the entry, and 3) engage with nature through daylight and views.

The building form subtly deflects in plan and section from its base “L”-shape to create a public way and a garden at the street, provide access beneath the south wing to the Public Commons, and produce a generous east entry approach. These deflections are repeated in the façade where the monochrome white brick faces angle to reveal glass at strategic areas: reading spaces and quiet study rooms, the entry lounge, the children’s area and the teen room. The glazing is further defined by wood-grained vertical louvers at the west façade. 

The building accommodates both the detailed programmatic requirements and the civic aspirations of the library with an orchestrated sequence of spaces. The large-scale Public Hall serves as entry, access hub and orientation device for the entire building with all major building functions feeding from this space. Its expansive, light-filled volume is legible throughout the library as a visual cue for customers. This Public Hall is the first stage of the primary circulation sequence, a sequence that tracks up the open stair opposite the entry and climbs southward to the main reading room with panoramic views of the Alum Creek Watershed and the Public Commons at the beginning of the journey. 

Interior materials are consistent and understated: a range of gray tones in the ceramic tile flooring, painted steel stair walls and carpet, and a natural wood screen and ceiling panel in the Public Hall. The notable exception is the 80-foot custom art installation by Dion Johnson, entitled “Connections”, that spans the length of the Public Hall.