This appealing auditorium is a small part of the story of the restoration of Fulton Central Library – a brutalist landmark in Georgia, USA. Brutalist buildings often split opinions, and the library was initially scheduled for demolition and rebuild, until the Fulton County government decided instead to preserve and re-imagine it. This not only meant a massive reduction in the project’s carbon footprint, but it also saved last remaining building by renowned architect Marcel Breuer.
The re-plan brought lighter into the building, both through careful layout planning, and through the addition of windows to the stark facade. Even the new windows were controversial, with purists preferring the exterior to remain as the architect intended. But in the end, livability and light won out. Inside the building, the new auditorium and events space has retractable seating by Audience Systems, complete with “Chorus” benches. The retractable platforms close under power, allowing the library to quickly change the space’s use. When the seating is folded back, timber fascias help the closed platforms to sit quietly in the space – as is appropriate in a library!