Cleveland Public Library
Hough Branch Library
An investment in ongoing revival.
Located on Lexington Avenue in Cleveland’s Hough Neighborhood, one of the city’s oldest, poverty-stricken communities, the new Cleveland Public Library branch bolsters the Hough community by continuing to advance the community’s ongoing revival.
Connecting the Community
The contemporary library offers a vast arrangement of programming in a modest building footprint, providing the community with opportunities for quiet study, meeting spaces, and a makerspace.
The campus creates generous outdoor spaces and a reading garden, which builds community and activates the neighborhood. Designed to optimize flexibility and human comfort, the library establishes a sense of belonging with open spaces diffused in daylight for residents of all ages to relax, meet, and share ideas.
Paying Homage to the Past
The design embodies a visual metaphor of a the West African mythological bird, referred to as Sankofa. The word Sankofa is roughly translated to mean: go back to the past and bring forward that which is useful. The Sankofa has been adopted as an important symbol in African-American and African Diaspora context to represent the need to reflect on the past to build a successful future.
To create a meaningful space that represents the community it serves, the design team engaged the community through a series of robust community design charrettes to elevate their voices. As a memorial tribute and place of remembrance, the library pays homage to the lives lost in the 1966 Hough Uprising, and stands as an investment in the ongoing revival of the redlined and historically Black neighborhood.