Archive for Wednesday, February 8, 2006

Carnegie Library may undergo a modern-day makeover

City commissioners to discuss future use of building at March study session

February 8, 2006


A more modern look may be coming to a portion of the historic Carnegie Library building.

City commissioners Tuesday night got their first look at plans for a small addition to the north side of the vacant Carnegie Library building at Ninth and Vermont streets.

"We're proposing to build it in the style of our time," said David Dunfield, an architect with Lawrence-based GLPM Architects.

The project would add about 1,600 square feet onto the 10,000-square-foot building. The new space would house an elevator, stairway and handicap-accessible rest rooms that are required under the Americans with Disabilities Act before the building can be occupied again.

The addition - which would include two floors - would be built on a portion of the existing city parking lot that is north of the building. Dunfield estimated about 10 spaces in the parking lot would be lost.

The new construction largely would have a glass front, which is in contrast to the traditional architecture on the original Carnegie Library, which was built in 1904. Dunfield said his firm was recommending a more modern look, in part, because the building already had its style changed once before. The building was added onto in 1937 and used a less ornate style than that of the original 1904 building.

Shannon O&squot;Shea, 13, and her sister Erika, 15, Lawrence, play "Bonaparte Crossing the Rocky Mountains" on Tuesday during a lesson at the Americana Academy of Music, 1419 Mass. City commissioners will consider proposals from the Americana Music Academy and Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department for taking over the Carnegie building at Ninth and Vermont streets at a March 9 study session

Shannon O'Shea, 13, and her sister Erika, 15, Lawrence, play "Bonaparte Crossing the Rocky Mountains" on Tuesday during a lesson at the Americana Academy of Music, 1419 Mass. City commissioners will consider proposals from the Americana Music Academy and Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department for taking over the Carnegie building at Ninth and Vermont streets at a March 9 study session

The addition would be connecting onto the 1937 addition, but Dunfield said he hadn't found community support to build the addition in that Depression-era style.

Dunfield said he has had positive discussions with city and state historic preservation officials, who must review plans because the property is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The project, which will include some general renovation work on the existing building, is expected to cost about $700,000. Work could begin this summer and be completed in early 2007. Commissioners will have to give final approval to the project at a later date.

City commissioners did not settle on any future use for the building. Commissioners formally received two proposals for the building: one from the city's Parks and Recreation Department to use the building as a new community center for classroom and meeting space, and another from the Lawrence-based Americana Music Academy, which wants to turn the building into a music and cultural center.

Several members of the public spoke in favor of the Americana proposal, saying the nonprofit organization had outgrown its current space and could create a unique destination for downtown. Commissioners agreed to discuss the two proposals at a March 9 study session.

Bert Nash to provide case workers for homeless

City commissioners Tuesday night selected the Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center to provide case management services for the homeless. The new $160,000 contract will allow the center to hire case mangers who will be stationed at ECKAN, the Lawrence Community Shelter, the Salvation Army and the Bert Nash offices to provide services.

Benefit district approved to fund road project

On a 4-1 vote commissioners gave approval to create a benefit district to fund a road project that would connect Stoneridge Drive to Sixth Street in northwest Lawrence.

The extension was requested by developers in the area, who would pay $600,000 of the costs of the project, while the city would pay $50,000 of the cost. But the city will finance the entire portion of the project and be repaid through special assessments on future property tax bills.

Citing debt concerns and the need to do better long-range planning, commissioners said they wanted to review the longtime policy of letting developers use the city's financing authority for road projects. City Commissioner Mike Rundle voted against the request. He said he wanted to put an end to the practice now.


Kookamooka 12 years, 3 months ago

I knew it! The city can never leave well enough alone. elevator is pretty crucial but to alter the architecture so dramatically will ruin the landmark. Isn't Dunfield an architect? Are there any architects out here who would disagree with his design concept? I've got an idea....why don't they use corregated metal! They don't even know what the space will be used for and they are determined to re-make the entire back of the building!

Bradley Kemp 12 years, 3 months ago

With a historic building, the goal is usually (and should always be) to have any additions CONTRAST with the existing architecture -- so that it is clear what is historic and what is not.

I'd much prefer a well designed modern addition to some latter-day ersatz imitation of what was built in 1904 (or even, for that matter, what was built in 1937).

weterica 12 years, 3 months ago

I agree with Kookamooka, because no good architecture comes from mixing styles--of course the original building does, all those big ole European cathedrals do, virtually all recent important museum additions--but still, Kookamooka and me are right!

Mixing styles ruins buildings! It would be much more tasteful for architectural additions to stay static over time!

If they have to build something new, then they should raze the old building to keep it the original building's purity of style--of course the Carnegie Library's when designed was a mismash of referenced historical styles, but still! Purity must be maintained!

And really, that Carnegie Library is just the most impressive, breathtaking, important, totally awesome buildings around! I mean those pillars! Wow! Pillars! I bet Dunfield isn't an architect! Doesn't he see the pillars?! Doesn't he understand how gorgeous that building is!

Janet Lowther 12 years, 3 months ago

A glass fronted addition on the NORTH side of a building? With today's gas prices?

Sounds spectacularly stupid.

Might look OK, but the excess heating expense could be spectacular.

Ceallach 12 years, 3 months ago

Couldn't the building be modernized without the addition being so radically modern? Where's our LJW posters who are architects (not those hoping to be paid to do this project)? Do you think this is a good idea?

Moderateguy 12 years, 3 months ago

Before you go trashing the proposed design, perhaps you should really look at the north side of the existing building. If you think sticking some fiberglass reproduction corinthian columns on it would help, you should stick to picking tacky wallpaper in your own bathroom. A clean and elegant solution is the best in this case. The officials in historic preservation agree.

Moderateguy 12 years, 3 months ago

By the way, basing your opinion on one schematic elevation in the paper is a good way to throw the baby out with the bathwater. (oh, and I'm an Architect, but don't have a dog in this fight.)

bearded_gnome 12 years, 3 months ago

is the elevator add-on mandated for A.D.A compliance?

Ceallach 12 years, 3 months ago

For those who have wondered why the Carnegie addition, in order to be modernized on the interior, had to be a modern design on the exterior. The following link, by a local architect, is an example of how the exterior of Carnegie might look if one takes the time to creatively design an addition plan that respects the historical nature of the original building and not just "build it in the style of our time."

littlebluedog 12 years, 3 months ago

In response to Souki's Feb 8 comment: The Secretary of the Interiors Standards (which are used to review proposed alterations to buildings listed on the Natt'l Register) recommend that new additions be DIFFERENTIATED from the old, not CONTRAST, I believe that there is a distinction. The Standards also require that additions to historic buildings be COMPATIBLE to protect the integrity of the building. GLPM has proposed an addition that does not appear to be compatible in materials or scale/proportion to the existing structure.

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