Cedar Rapids Public Library Honored for Design Excellence

Designed by OPN Architects, the Cedar Rapids Public Library has been recognized by the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) and the American Library Association (ALA) as an honorable mention in their excellence in interior design awards for public libraries over 30,000 square feet. The LEED Platinum building was selected among a group of international finalists in this biennial competition for demonstrating excellence in aesthetics, design, creativity, function, and satisfaction of the client’s objectives. A record flood in June 2008 devastated Cedar Rapid’s original 85,000-square-foot library. Everything on the first floor was lost, including the entire adult and youth collections, public access computers, computer labs, and a state-of-the-art check-out system. Approximately 200,000 items in the collection were ruined. In addition, thousands of furniture items and pieces of electronic equipment were destroyed. Tasked with fulfilling a community vision for a vibrant, multipurpose destination that embraced openness and fostered public engagement, OPN worked to create a new and innovative 95,000-square-foot facility. Rethinking what a library could do, the interior design incorporated unique and age-specific youth areas, a 200-seat tiered auditorium, vistas and views throughout the structure, and a contemporary view of library services that revolve around staff kiosks rather than a traditional circulation desk. The reimagined Cedar Rapids Public Library re-opened in August 2013 and quickly established itself as a center of community involvement in Cedar Rapids. “Working on the Cedar Rapids Public Library was the highlight of our professional careers,” commented Bradd Brown, principal at OPN Architects. “We’re flattered that our work has been recognized, but are thrilled that the people of Cedar Rapids can now share and view their library as a world-class facility.”