fulton central library

Fulton County’s Central Library is an iconic example of brutalist architecture.

At its meeting Wednesday at the county government complex in downtown Atlanta, the Fulton County Board of Commissioners voted 5-0 to approve a $44.2 million contract for renovations to the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System’s Central Library, also downtown. Commissioner Lee Morris abstained, and Commissioner Emma Darnell was absent for that vote but attended the meeting.

The approved design/build contract was awarded to Winter Johnson Group, a joint venture which includes all services from design development through all phases of construction and post construction for the renovations of Fulton’s iconic library, designed by architect Marcel Breuer. Opened in 1980, the library is an example of the Bauhaus Movement of architecture and brutalist architecture.

At one time the library was rumored to be a candidate to be torn down, and in November 2016 was even named to the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation’s 10 Places in Peril list for 2017.

The scope of renovation work includes the goal of achieving the Leadership, Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification. As the library system’s other facilities go through a revitalization process, three Phase I libraries have achieved LEED Gold certification while seven other Phase I libraries achieved LEED Silver certification.

In 2008, the board voted to place a $275 million bond referendum on that year’s Nov. 4 ballot to implement the library facility master plan, with that referendum being approved with 65 percent voter support.

Phase I of the facility master plan, the construction of eight new libraries and renovation/expansion of two other libraries, has been completed. Phase II of the plan includes the renovation of 22 existing libraries, of which the Central Library renovation is a part.

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