Charlotte, NC


Bringing Imagination to the Heart of Uptown


Completed 2005


Charlotte Mecklenburg Public Library


Public Realm + Open Space, Education


Landscape Architecture, Urban Design, Land Planning

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Sparking Creativity at the Intersection of Art, Education, and Entertainment

A unique collaboration between two keystone centers of learning in Charlotte explores new innovations in learning.

The Children’s Theatre of Charlotte and Charlotte Mecklenburg Library united in a joint venture to provide an interactive means for children and adults alike to engage in an environment that brings stories to life. Located at Charlotte’s 7th Street light rail transit station on the LYNX Blue Line, ImaginOn includes theaters for performances and films, classroom and studio space, a library with computer resources, along with other features conducive to active learning. LandDesign provided site planning and landscape architecture services for the new institution to create an immersive outdoor learning experience activating the imagination before one even enters the building.

Our Vision

Bringing Imagination to Life

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The ultimate goal of this project was to celebrate the young minds of children, for nurturing their development is nurturing the minds of future citizens. The creative adventure begins on arrival, prior to entering the building — the exterior environment challenges, excites, and sparks creativity in young minds by creating unique outdoor spaces through designed landscape elements. LandDesign coordinated the integration of public art with artist Larry Kirkland, whose work was a tribute to former Charlotte Observer publisher, Rolfe Neil, who was a stalwart patron of the arts. The sculptures of scattered keys from a typewriter, pencil-shaped benches, stacked books, and strewn stamps function as an outdoor classroom, play space, or even an area for reflection. The landscape surrounding the innovative museum sets a playful tone that fosters a whimsical mood for ImaginOn and echoes the architect’s design intent for the building.

The Challenge

Becoming Charlotte’s First LEED-Certified Building

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From the early stages of planning, ImaginOn aspired to be a LEED-certified project. At its heart, this project is about celebrating the lives of children. In acknowledging that children embody the future, the team honored that ethos by promoting a sustainable design. In order to achieve LEED Silver certification, LandDesign incorporated a high-efficiency irrigation system, low-maintenance plant materials, and locally grown and produced materials into the landscape design. Accomplishing LEED certification is a feat that will hopefully continue to spur others to similarly pursue the mission of a more sustainable future.