Forsyth County Central Library

Forsyth County Central Library

Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Wishing to create a transformative “third place” for the city of Winston-Salem and provide new services for library patrons, Forsyth County selected RATIO to renovate and expand its existing central library and modernize its offerings to be reflective of a 21st Century iconic community library.

Forsyth County
103,730 SF

The design solution selectively demolished dysfunctional parts of the existing building, renovated functional areas (approximately 50,000 SF), and added a 50,000 SF glazed addition that responds to the needs and program of an open, flexible, collaborative and sustainable library, with space for a café, an outdoor reading garden, an auditorium, a makerspace, and a “technology petting zoo.”

The guiding strategy was to consolidate the program into a simpler volume that allows seamless connection between the various parts of the building and a more flexible layout to accommodate the evolution of the library into the future. RATIO designed the new façade of the building to respond to the scale and energy of Winston-Salem and catalyze future development on the western side of downtown.

The long-awaited library received overwhelming support from the community when it debuted, transforming the western side of downtown and renewing development interest. Above all, the County Commissioners maintained their promise to be good stewards of taxpayer money while delivering an iconic, generational project.

“Since the new Central Library’s grand opening, patrons, elected officials, and staff comments have been overwhelmingly / exclusively positive, door count is up significantly, and Forsyth County’s library is envied by many of its peers again. Thank you for a job well-done!”

Damon L. Sanders - Deputy County Manager