Exterior work underway on controversial Central Library renovation

A rendering of the Central Library with added windows.

Fulton County has announced that much of the controversial work to the exterior of the Central Library in Downtown is expected to begin this week.

The altering of architect Marcel Breuer’s final work to add windows to the Brutalist exterior has been a sore point with architects and preservationists. The installation of the windows is part of a $50 million renovation of the library, which opened in 1980.

The first six floors of the library are being renovated to include all new mechanical equipment, flooring, restrooms and lighting. A new grand staircase will lead patrons from the lobby to the new technology center on the second floor. A new fifth-floor indoor/outdoor conference center and event space is also being built.

A series of concrete panels on the exterior will be replaced with new windows that will allow additional natural light into the interior of the renovated library.

Workers with Winter Johnson Group are scheduled to have a crane maneuvering along Forsyth Avenue and Carnegie Way in upcoming days. The crane will be used to remove the five-ton panels from the Carnegie Way side of the building. Workers removed several panels from the Williams Street side of the 40-year-old building last month.

As part of the construction, four trees along Forsyth Avenue in front of the library and one tree in the plaza will be removed. Once the panels are removed and construction completed, four Aeryn Trident Maple trees will be planted, as well as five Green Shadow Sweetbay magnolia trees in the renovated front plaza.

Work at Central Library is expected to continue through next summer, with a late fall 2020 re-opening date.

A rendering of the new lobby and grand staircase.
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