Howard County Executive Calvin Ball was joined today by Governor Wes Moore to unveil plans for a reimagined and transformative library in Downtown Columbia. The project will be coupled with expanded mixed-income housing opportunities for the growing community.
The 100,000 square-foot structure will foster creativity, learning, and civic engagement. It will be the first, innovative library of its kind in the region. Designs unveiled were created by Heatherwick Studio, an internationally recognized firm that created the landmark “Vessel” public art structure in New York City, and other distinctive buildings throughout the world.
“Libraries are some of the most important spaces in our communities, and they rightfully serve as a place where ideas are born and a place where we all gather to build a better future,” said Guy Guzzone, Maryland State Senator. “We are pleased to help provide state resources and be part of the partnership to make this new lakefront library a reality.”
Ball noted that funding for the Lakefront Library will be included in his proposed Fiscal Year 2024 Capital Budget, which will be submitted to the Howard County Council by April 1. Pending Council approval, design for the project can begin later this year with the anticipation of breaking ground no later than 2026.
“The proposed iconic lakefront library and Merriweather affordable housing will strengthen Howard County by fostering community engagement, supporting economic mobility and enhancing our quality of life,” said Christiana Rigby, Chair, Howard County Council. “This proposal enhances a vibrant, healthy downtown community where all members have the opportunity to thrive, and all will have a chance to connect with each other.”
The library will be built on land provided by The Howard Hughes Corp., which serves as Downtown Columbia’s community developer. Howard Hughes is also providing the land for the affordable housing units, as called for in the Downtown Columbia Plan.
The structure will be designed by a renowned architectural firm, Heatherwick Studios, that has created some of the most distinctive structures in New York City, London, and Shanghai. The design will follow a concept to further elevate the design standard of Downtown Columbia with an architecturally distinctive building, as called for in the Downtown Columbia Plan.
The prior location of the replacement library site, in what is known as Columbia’s Merriweather District, is now planned to contain at least 240 units of mixed-income housing, twice the number as originally called for in the Downtown Columbia Plan.