Grand Rapids Main Library Renovation

A successful bond proposal set the stage for a $31 million citywide library improvement effort for the Grand Rapids Public Library System. An ambitious rejoining of the historic 1904 Ryerson Building and the 1967 library addition was planned to showcase this valuable community asset and anchor Michigan’s second largest library system.

The main library is composed of two buildings, the original Ryerson Building and a 1967 addition, and supports the majority of the City’s public library services. Renovations to the main library included tripling the size of the children’s area, replacing all the building’s major mechanical systems, reopening the Ryerson Building for public use, and making improvements to the building’s exterior. The library’s main entrance was moved so patrons once again walk through the original 1904 entrance. A marble-lined atrium topped by sculpted plaster ceilings, that were covered by a suspended ceiling for more than 40 years, was restored and reopened to the public. The brick exterior facade of the 1967 addition was removed and replaced with a limestone and glass exterior to provide better harmony with the Ryerson Building. The facility was completely renovated, updated, and furnished.

FTCH provided overall project management and all engineering design services for the renovation. FTCH coordinated the efforts of the entire project team, including architectural and interior design services provided by Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates.

AWARDS

2004 ACEC Engineering and Surveying Excellence - Merit Award

2003 Historical Restoration, Electrical, Interior Finishing, and Masonry Award of Excellence - Associated Builders & Contractors, Inc./Western Michigan Chapter