Fulton County Central Library

Atlanta, GA

Cooper Carry led programming and design to renovate the Fulton County Library System’s Central Library, a landmark in downtown Atlanta. Originally designed by Marcel Breuer and opened in 1980, the full renovation of the 10-level building modernized the public library to better serve the community while also providing adaptability for future advances. The result is a unique mix of the classic Brutalist architecture with contemporary amenities and finishes, creating a sustainable, efficient design.

The design team convened community and staff members for input on priorities and features to maximize long-term maintenance and operations. The design also incorporated cutting-edge technology, ADA-accessible spaces, improved lighting, and flexible rooms that accommodate a wide range of activities. A grand staircase between the first and second floors provides a warm welcome to the space and helps draw users up through the building.

The programming process ensured the renovated library addressed the needs of the Atlanta community, as libraries have shifted from quiet book depositories to more engaging, lively spaces. One example of this was the creation of a flexible entry area on the first floor that includes art studios, a break-style area for food and beverages, and a large central space for events and lectures.

For this project, Cooper Carry was the design architect in collaboration with Vines Architecture, then turned it over to a design-build team to complete the documentation and construction.

What Others Are Saying

project scope

234,000 SF Renovation


Fulton County Public Library System


  • 2022 AIA Aspire Design Awards, Adaptive Reuse/Preservation Category, Honor Award
  • 2022 AIA Georgia, Award of Excellence for Renovation/Restoration/Adaptive-Reuse
  • 2022 AIA Georgia, People's Choice Award
  • 2022 Atlanta Magazine Georgia Design Awards, Contract Design Public Place, Gold