Oct 7, 2021 - News
A look inside the newly renovated Fulton County Central Library
The Fulton Country Central Library after a $50 million renovation that included adding exterior windows to the Brutalist building.
Photo: Thomas Wheatley/Axios

After three years, $50 million and a healthy amount of debate about architectural history, the Fulton County Central Library opened its doors to the public this week.

Why it matters: The 272,000 square-foot concrete block was designed by Brutalist architect Marcel Breuer. Love it or hate it, it's one of Atlanta’s most prominent structures, and the centerpiece of the library system (and its recent $275 million system-wide renovation frenzy).

What's inside: Funded by a 2008 bond referendum, the top-to-bottom renovation includes a new central staircase and atrium under a skylight and exterior windows to brighten the space.

  • The children’s section has been moved from the basement to the fourth floor and galleries were added outside the refurbished auditorium and lobby.
  • An event center takes up the fifth floor and includes an auditorium with floor-to-ceiling garage-style windows that open to an outdoor courtyard, plus demo and commercial kitchens.
  • Smaller meeting rooms and nooks abound. And yes, new bathrooms.

More than books: Officials also want to hire a social worker to help coordinate social services for library patrons, some of whom are homeless. They also hope to lease under-construction space on the sixth and seventh floor to businesses or nonprofits, or for library staff.

A new central staircase and airway offer auditorium-style seating and easy access to the second floor
A new central staircase offers patrons auditorium-style setting and easy access to the second floor. Photo: Thomas Wheatley/Axios
An aerial photograph overlooking the central staircase and central airway that floods the Central Library with daylight
Skylights flood the grand staircase and atrium with daylight. Photo: Thomas Wheatley/Axios
A perspective from between the aisles of books, looking out to a room with circular lighting fixtures overhead
Circular lighting fixtures are a common theme throughout the building. Photo: Thomas Wheatley/Axios
A man walks past new desks in the renovated Central Library in Downtown Atlanta
Study desks, computer terminals, meeting rooms, classrooms, and other break-out spaces abound. Photo: Thomas Wheatley/Axios
A photograph of the courtyard on the fifth floor next to an auditorium with sliding windows
The event center that takes up the fifth floor opens to the Breuer-designed open-air courtyard. Photo: Thomas Wheatley/Axios
A photograph of people in the basement auditorium which has been revamped and brightened
The basement auditorium has been revamped and brightened. Photo: Thomas Wheatley/Axios
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