Bartholomew County Library - Reopening of the Red Room
While it officially was designated as the Multipurpose Room, the deep red carpet gave it the name that the community would call it: the Red Room. Created as part of the original design of the Cleo Rogers Memorial Library, the Red Room was meant to be a flexible space that could host a wide variety of events, like children’s story times, author visits, and movies. While there hasn’t been a formal connection established, one has to believe that Pei was inspired by the conversation pit at the Eero Saarinen designed Miller House. The intimacy and connectedness of the sunken living rooms fit the purposes of the room well.
However, after over 50 years, the Red Room was due for an upgrade. Handicap accessibility was a top priority in the renovation. While there wasn’t enough room for a ramp, the floor has been raised one level eliminating one stair, so that all the remaining steps and landings could be made much wider. Wheelchairs and strollers can now move all the way around the room on the top level. Also, a hand rail has been placed on one wall which will help patrons making their way to the bottom level. In addition to expanding accessibility, there have been many improvements made to the technology and AV equipment. Finally, a custom carpet, using the original carpet samples housed in the Columbus Indiana Architectural Archives, was created to bring back the ruby red of the past.