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We create spaces that inspire dramatic moments of discovery


Louisville Free Public Library

To better reflect the population growth in Louisville’s suburban areas, the Louisville Free Public Library developed a master plan which earmarked construction of three new regional branches to ensure that 90% of the city’s residents would live within 5 miles of a full service library.

JRA has been honored to lead a truly unique design process - one where the client, architects, and landscape designer developed solutions together to guarantee that every feature enhanced appearance, performance and operations. We all made a promise to turn the traditional perception of libraries ON ITS HEAD.


“JRA has afforded our city, often through painstaking measures, educational and community landmarks for generations to come.”

Paul Burns
Creative Director and Community Relations, Louisville Free Public Library


Improve Equity of Access to Libraries:

After merging with the county, the city library system had an obligation to expand services to historically underserved suburban neighborhoods. In the end, land acquisition, development costs, and the sheer quantity of construction projects pushed the master plan toward an approach of fewer, larger, full service libraries: more materials in less space.

Create a World Class Future-Enabled Public Library:

Fully embrace public library evolution as a place to not only access knowledge, but to apply it (hands on learning).

Improve the City’s Knowledge Economy

A correlation exists between community investment in libraries and economic productivity and resiliency.

Maximize Flexibility

Create flexible environments to meet the learning and technological needs of future generations.

What resulted is a transformative library experience


Holistic Site Design
The deep integration between the landscape and building architects empowered design solutions that inspired one another. The results are destinations that lure visitors to take the long route to the front door, engaging with each site’s unique characteristics before seeing those same features as celebrated views once inside.

Spatial Design

Supreme Adaptability
Libraries have to achieve more than ever with fewer resources than ever. These buildings were shaped to empower staff to actively engage patrons, and be easily reconfigurable when inevitable service evolution happens.


Active daylight dimming system to ensure ideal reading conditions throughout the day.

centered experience

Personal spaces for patrons of every age.

Each location inspired unique design solutions...

From carefully carving a building into an existing forest

To collecting rainwater from surrounding properties

To integrating a welcoming pavillion into a nationally landmarked context

But what matters most to us is

the transformative ways our libraries have provided unexpected learning experiences for the community


“Civic projects like our libraries, that touch the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in such meaningful ways, are a catalyst for my love of architecture.”

Colin Drake
AIA, LEED AP, Principal, JRA Architects

We believe collaboration is key to meaningful, impactful architecture. Ready to start a conversation about your space?