Ridgedale Regional Center and Library

  • area / size 155,000 sqft
  • Completed 2018
  • Gensler have created a learning space of discovery, collaboration and connection at the Ridgedale Regional Center and Library located in Minnetonka, Minnesota.

    Hennepin County’s Ridgedale Library, located within the Ridgedale Services Center, is a vital and beloved resource to the community, providing practical and diverse access to services, discovery, collaboration, learning, and connection. The facilities, previously updated in the 90’s, no longer supported the needs of patrons and staff. The refurbishment project creates a more welcoming, versatile, and modern space for the diverse populations it serves and a more efficient and productive work environment for staff.

    The design team, working in concert with Hennepin County, embarked on a rigorous discovery and programming phase that focused heavily on the user journey and the distinct needs of the patrons and staff that utilize the facility. This process included integrating feedback from the community via surveys and community meetings; analysis of contemporary trends in 20th century libraries; auditing and observing diverse use patterns from patrons; addressing delivery of services, collections and technology integration; and addressing youth and family areas.

    The new design transforms the space—creating a more open, bright, intuitive, and technology-rich destination for the community. Shorter bookshelves replace tall shelving and open up sightlines and windows on the perimeter for easier navigation, security, and uncovering views to the surrounding wetlands. Large, heavy desks and millwork were replaced with more modern and assorted furniture groupings, opening up space for additional tech-enabled meeting and media rooms, a multi-purpose space, quiet room, and a mother’s room. A majority of the furniture is equipped with electrical outlets or USB ports for BYOD patrons. New energy-efficient LED lighting brightens the space and set the standard for Hennepin County Libraries moving forward.

    An expanded children’s area integrates literacy-rich and immersive learning and play experiences for children. The design addresses the needs of the multi-generational and special-needs patrons who also occupy and utilize the children’s area, providing a variety of exposure to literacy and learning.

    The new free-address staff environment includes collaborative areas, all new ergonomic furniture, a new automated materials handling unit, break area, and takes advantage of outdoor views to create a more efficient and delightful place for library staff.

    Improvements to the overall facility of the Ridgedale Regional Services Center addresses sustainable preservation, boiler and chiller replacement, 100% lighting replacement, site improvements, new security and automation control systems, extensive façade restoration, and a more pedestrian-friendly parking lot.

    PhotographyDana Wheelock