Archive for Thursday, September 5, 2013

Editorial: Unsightly structure

Perhaps finishing touches will make the new parking garage south of the library more visually compatible with its surroundings.

September 5, 2013


Let’s hope we haven’t got a pig in a poke as it concerns the new city parking garage that is nearing completion south of the expanded Lawrence Public Library in the 800 block between Vermont and Kentucky streets.

Right now, as efforts continue to get the facility ready for Saturday’s Kansas University football season opener, it has all the style of a roll-off trash cart, without the charm. It would rate as the least aesthetically pleasing of the parking garages scattered around town.

Best on the list would be the KU garage tucked into the hillside on the east side Mississippi Street. The top deck is at street level, and the brickwork on its facades ties it nicely to the adjacent Memorial Union building. It’s about as perfect a fit as anyone could want — although it’s expensive to use, and more attention could be paid to keeping the lights replaced inside.

Downtown, the garage on New Hampshire Street opposite the Lawrence Arts Center, also fits in — especially now that the southwest corner of Ninth and New Hampshire is occupied by a building of similar scale. The garage itself has fitting brickwork as well as street-level glass elements to help it look as if it belongs.

Back on campus, the low-profile garage north of Allen Fieldhouse does not overwhelm adjacent structures, and its finish matches some aspects of Green Hall to the northeast. It’s plain but it fits.

Even the Riverfront garage more resembles a parking lot than a garage as it presents itself to the traffic along New Hampshire Street. Some would quarrel with the entry tower and its signage, but still…

That brings us back to the library garage, with its garish reddish screens on three sides. The style and color clearly contrast with the Lawrence Senior Center and fire station to the south.

Perhaps it’s still in an unfinished mode, a work in progress, and touches yet to come, plus landscaping, will help it to fit, and soften, somehow, the impression it presents.

It would be too bad for a community that prides itself on art and has controls and specifications related to construction in its downtown area to wind up with a tacky, institutional parking facility created by the city itself.


ashmole 4 years, 7 months ago

It will make a nice companion to that hideous microwave tower downtown, which should have been torn down as an eyesore ages ago.

redfred 4 years, 7 months ago

AT&T wanted to take the tower down years ago. But, the citzens of River City through a fit. So it didn't happen.

Angela Longhurst 4 years, 7 months ago

Maybe it will make more sense design-wise when the library is finished.

Keith 4 years, 7 months ago

Speaking of unsightly structures, what's up with that bricked up storefront on the east side of Mass. St. on the north end of the 600 block?

Carol Bowen 4 years, 7 months ago

The Journal World printing presses are in that building. The JWorld considered moving out to the edge of town, but city utilities were not available. I think the Journal World did a nice job of updating it's facility. Compare to the Allen Press or Scotch Cleaners buildings. The Simons have left a lot of design and history in their buildings.

Keith 4 years, 7 months ago

I really like the covered walkway they have in front of the old Reuter Organ building. Oh, wait, that's not a covered walkway, it's just an eyesore.

Robert Schehrer 4 years, 7 months ago

The screening color and design are both ugly. The color looks like a primer coat of paint. The design looks like the screening used on railroad cars that carry automobiles.

Carol Bowen 4 years, 7 months ago

The same design was used on Broken Arrow Elementary school. The 31st street post office shows how the rust will run down the walls after a while.

bad_dog 4 years, 7 months ago

This editorial might have been better served if delivered during the design phase of the library project. It shouldn't come as either a surprise or "news" at this point.

Miles Nease 4 years, 7 months ago

The grain elevator in North Lawrence also makes a nice gateway to the city. Implode it or spruce it up. It is located right next to the visitors center!

I was in Portland, Oregon recently and they had painted a huge mural on a grain elevator leading into downtown. It looked pretty cool. At least, do something!

Lawrence is supposed to be the "City of the Arts". Here is a huge canvas that would change an eyesore into a work of art.

average 4 years, 7 months ago

"Even the Riverfront garage more resembles a parking lot than a garage as it presents itself to the traffic along New Hampshire Street."

As if 'resembles a parking lot' were the height of aesthetic praise...

irvan moore 4 years, 7 months ago

we sure spent a lot of money on an ugly structure, how about the city making a nice donation to the van gogh kids to beautify it instead of paying more contractors and other design teams to correct it, they'd get it right the first time

Carol Bowen 4 years, 7 months ago

I wonder how many people besides myself commented on having an ugly overwhelming parking ramp on front of the library at the design open house.

Larrytown 4 years, 7 months ago

For a parking looks pretty nice to me. After all, we are talking about a parking garage...for fluck sake. Got a little urban/contemporary look to be expected as the downtown continues to grow (out/up).

As for the library building...can't wait for the finished product. Going to be a huge improvement to the area and a great investment in the community!

average 4 years, 7 months ago

Yeah, honestly, it's a parking garage. It is what it is. It could have a giant Coke billboard on one side and a Powercat K-State ad on the other and it would be better than the equivalent number of parking spaces in neatly manicured surface lots. Sadly, I do think the giant Coke billboard would look less dated in ten years than the current cor-ten (rusty) steel fad.

average 4 years, 7 months ago

And, as for the library itself... I'm going to reserve judgement on its actual improvement til it's open at this point. A lot changed between the pre-vote materials that were mailed out and the drawings I've seen since the vote (few of those changes to the positive), and at this point, well, we're getting what we get.

gccs14r 4 years, 7 months ago

Maybe they should have gone down instead of up with the parking area.

he_who_knows_all 4 years, 7 months ago

Maybe it would look better with some fake grass around it and some cell phone towers on top?

Eugehne Normandin 4 years, 7 months ago

I wish I had time in my life to ponder about what a parking garage looks like.

Kerry Altenbernd 4 years, 7 months ago

Some cities actually plan for the aesthetics of parking garages, like the one next to the main branch of the Kansas City, Missouri, Public Library. You would think Lawrence could do something at least as good, but oh yeah, Lawrence is run by developers.

Mike Myers 4 years, 7 months ago

This editorial brought to you by the corporation who brought us... drum roll... the riverfront mall. Yes the great wall of Lawrence. The reason we can't see or use our own downtown riverfront even though it was dedicated to us, "all the citizens of Lawrence by Buford M. Watson Jr.". There's a nice plaque saying so beyond the no trespassing sign.

smileydog 4 years, 7 months ago

The already obsolete library and parking garage will be ugly when completed, but it is what "the people" wanted when they supposedly voted for it. Everyone saw the renderings....I think it was in our adjustment fees included water bills.

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