From Ghost Retail to Next Generation Library
Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library, Deer Park Library
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Cincinnati, OH | 24,600 SF
The Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library lets minds of all kinds learn without limits, but their existing space was constraining the kinds of programming they wanted to bring to this diverse community. We worked with library leadership and neighborhood residents to transform an abandoned TJ Maxx store in a shopping center into a library that is an accessible, vibrant, and inviting hub for people of all ages, interests, and backgrounds to learn, explore, and create.
The new library is five times larger and organized around a central zone dubbed “The Marketplace.” Open and flexible, The Marketplace encourages mingling, lounging, and discovery. The former store’s large floor plate presented an opportunity to carve out distinct zones for different age groups and activities—including quiet spaces, flexible study pods, a community meeting room, and space to be creative and make a mess.
The Community let us know we needed a modern, expanded library, a place to connect, create, and collaborate and we are truly pleased with how this renovation and expansion turned out.
Using a combination of mobile furniture and study pods to denote different zones, a wide variety of activities can happen concurrently, and the space can be reconfigured as the needs of the library, and the community change. New windows in the façade and the roof bring in abundant daylight, while curved interior walls break up the space, and encourage discovery.
Big-box retail is everywhere, but as the retail experience evolves, there are opportunities to bring new life and purpose to the increasing number of vacant “ghost stores” in our communities.