On the heels of March’s initial “information gathering” meetings with the public and library/civic stakeholders, Riverside began conducting followup public meetings late last week on the proposed renovation of the downtown Main Library. As such, the city has released four early conceptual drawings of the proposed exterior makeover, which the city is currently asking for public comment on.
Two public meetings have already been held, with a third scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 20 at the downtown library itself. For those who can’t make it, the city is also allowing electronic commenting. We highly encourage anyone who is interested in this project to leave their suggestions (note: the online commenting option will likely be gone in a few days).
Primarily focused on the exterior, these initial meetings are intended to be part of further public information gathering helping to scope the direction of the final plans which by no means are considered final and complete (hence, “conceptual drawings”). However, with that said, we highly encourage the city to take the entire library site — interior, exterior and outdoor public plaza — into consideration and to do so in a contextually aware fashion (in other words, keep all aspects compatible with each other as well as the building’s current mid-century modern designs).
We’ve made it clear on this site before that we have an affinity for the modern designs of the 1965-era Main Library, and thus, prefer those options that best preserve the original architecture and designs whenever possible (both in and out). In that sense, we can only accept Option 1 of the four options presented. And even that would require some modifications (such as bringing back the “flying canopy” and period lighting currently over the main entrance and removing/altering some the proposed windows).
As for the other three options (2A, 2B and 3), we simply cannot support any of them in their current form and find Option 3 particularly dreadful. And though we have some concerns with Option 1, we feel it’s the only option presented that even attempts to preserve the basic integrity of the original 1965-era designs. (Be sure to check out a previous post for background info and both interior and exterior photos of the downtown library.)
What are your thoughts, concerns and ideas?
- RaincrossSquare.com – Sharing a bit of library love (April 2012) | Latest plans for downtown library: renovation, not demolition (March 2012) | Committee finalizes expansion guidelines (June 2008) | Library-museum task force convenes (April 2008) | Library should remain downtown (July 2007)
Update – 07/07/2012
The city has released a fifth conceptual design, which is basically a revision of Option 1 (with an expanded entrance). As we’ve previously stated, we prefer Option 1 over the others, and the expanded entrance could possibly work for us. However, we’d like to see the “flying canopy” come back in place of the flat canopy seen in either version of Option 1. Regardless, until we see more design details (including with the interior and landscaping), it’s difficult to fully support any option.
Also, a regular commenter to this site has sent us a “hybrid design” created using Options 2B and 3. Although we find Jason’s “compilation” version (Option 2C) interesting and applaud him for his efforts, we can’t fully support the remaking of the entrance as envisioned as we believe it takes away too much from the intent of the original architecture. What are you thoughts? Tell us in the comments below! (Note: Option 2C is for illustrative purposes only and is NOT an official option presented by the project architect or the city.)
Conceptual images courtesy of: City of Riverside
Sources: City of Riverside, Riverside Public Library