Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Proposed Library Exterior Sparks Comments

Love ‘em or hate ‘em – the buzz around town on exterior renderings of the proposed Plainfield Library hits both extremes.

Comments include:
Can’t wait to see this
Offensive to our sensibilities
Vibrant and glowing
Too big to be welcoming
Modern with classic elements
No elements of historic setting
Beautiful windows for natural light
Doesn’t fit with downtown

Either way, the renderings as shown are not the final design. So the library can guarantee that the exterior will not be exactly like the renderings as they are drawn today.

The final design process won’t begin until after successful referenda. Library officials have committed to an open, public process for finalizing the proposed plans. Specific dates have not yet been announced, but library officials point to scheduled open house events during National Library Week in April as potential opportunities to begin the process. Last year, during National Library Week, the Plainfield Library held four public open house events where attendees provided input on 21st century library services and features they wanted in a new library. This year, the Library may begin the final design process with similar open houses to engage the community on the exterior design.

The design concepts balance the many diverse needs that influence the exterior. For example, at a public meeting, participants discussed making the west elevation quieter and less intrusive for our residential neighbors by reducing the number of windows. After seeing it drawn that way, residents and Village planners wanted windows on that side. It was redrawn shortly before the final rendering was made with windows.

Considerations in the development of the proposed exterior include both physical site needs and architectural context of the location. For the physical site, adjacent properties have residential, commercial, religious and educational uses. Locating the entry on the west side of the site facilitates pedestrian access. A service drive separates vehicular and pedestrian access points. South facing windows maximize natural light. Patterned brick, a strong cornice line and stone detailing mimic architectural details of the downtown.

Visit the Library to view the 3D model on display near the Check Out Desk. View renderings of the proposed exterior on bulletin boards over the book return, near the elevator on ground level and in the lower level lobby. Renderings and documentation of the planning process can be found at: http://plainfieldpubliclibrary.org/about/building-expansion-planning.aspx

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