Cedar Rapids Public Library | Cedar Rapids, IA
OPN Architects, Inc. | Cedar Rapids, IA

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Design Statement:
In June 2008 a destructive flood swept through the city of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Hundreds of homes, businesses and public structures were lost. The city's downtown central library took on eight feet of water damaging the building and materials beyond repair. The flood ranks as the fifth largest natural disaster in U.S. history. As the city looked to rebuild, restoring library services was a top concern. The design team was engaged to help the community develop a vision for a Next Generation Library. The focus was on creating a space that in the words of library director Bob Pasicznyuk was "more like an Apple Store than the DMV." The new Library opened in August of 2013 and is a vibrant, multipurpose destination and a space for the community to gather, collaborate and celebrate. The LEED Platinum design was driven by the desire to embrace openness, transparency and foster public engagement. The central functions of the library are prominently on display through large expanses of glass that wrap around the building on the first and second floor. The open design of the library provides a showcase for internal and external activity and motion. The brightly lit space sits like a lantern in the heart of the urban core, drawing people to participate in community and civic life. A 24,000 square foot publicly-accessible green roof is a verdant oasis and event space during warmer months. The design for the Library pushed the boundaries of what a library do for a community and the results have been astonishing. In the first three months alone, the library welcomed 108,900 visitors, issued 6,200 new library cards, provided space for 605 organizations to host events and booked more than 50 weddings, parties and special events.
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