Thursday, October 29, 2009

Silver Spring Library Nears Design Completion


The new Silver Spring Library has taken another step toward realization, with the release of initial designs born out of the county's design process. Officials expect to break ground, at least for site preparation, in the summer of 2010. Library construction has not yet been scheduled.

Work on the new library, at the corners of Fenton, Wayne and Bonifant Streets in downtown Silver Spring, has been underway since at least 1999, when Montgomery County approved an initial budget. The northern half of the site, on Wayne Avenue, will hold the library and Arts Center, the southern half will be reserved for future housing.

The 7-story building will be multi-purpose, with the first two floors designated, for now, as an art center with a combination of functions such as classes, offices and an art gallery. Floors 3, 4, and 5 will hold the library, and the 6th floor is set aside for county offices and possibly Health and Human Services office space. The top floor, stepped back, will hold meeting rooms for the library. Design specifications also call for a LEED-certified green roof and garden; plans for the 2nd-story pedestrian bridge from the parking garage to the library were scotched as being against Montgomery's urban planning guidelines.

The most interesting element may be the underside of the building, since the site is traversed by the proposed track of the Purple Line, and has been designated as one of the light rail stations, raising the main body of the library well above street level. "Anyone attending the design meetings would recognize that this is a challenging building, working with the purple coming right through" said Williams Evans, project architect for the Lukmire Partnership, which is responsible for the overall design. Lukmire specializes in such challenges, however. "Our firm is probably one of only a handful of firms that have done as many libraries as we have, 35 or 36, to date" said Evans.

Initial site planning was performed by RTKL, and interior design will be completed by the Sandra Ragan Studio. County standards require LEED Silver certification for the building, but Evans says the team is trying to achieve a Gold rating; though the Silver rating is required as a minimum to earn the county's Certificate of Occupancy. " That gets you up in the morning", Evans says of the requirement.

The final public design meeting will take place November 7, at 1pm, in the library at 8901 Colesville Rd.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Guaranteed to look dated and obsolete in 10 years. Stick with traditional architecture for public buildings, folks.

Eric said...

Disagree wholeheartedly with you there. This is traditional architecture. Glass and limestone.

Jonathan E. Grant on Oct 29, 2009, 7:46:00 PM said...

Instead of building a library with space for housing our expanding bloated government, apartments, classrooms, etc., why not just have a simple, straightforward brick and mortar library? Or would that not waste enough of the taxpayers' money? This is a project to line the developers' pockets, once again.

Eric said...

Wait, Mr. Grant, I thought this project was supposed to help continue the revitalization of our downtown? Oh that's right! It is! Keep your government blathering to yourself. This is a great project for the people who live here and we deserve a library that makes a statement. Not only that, but yea, developers are going to make money from building here, and that is what we want. If developers didn't earn money, then we wouldn't have a revitalized downtown. But wait, if the government hadn't spent money, we still wouldn't have a revitalized downtown. So you are apparently against the government helping our cities and populations, and against developers from in effect doing the same. I suppose you are content in your backyard, so stay there please and don't use our streets, public transit, sidewalks, libraries, hospitals, schools, police, or firefighters. In fact, why don't you just leave the country! Disinvestment was horrible for our cities (see: 1960's to 1990's American inner cities). Think back to your childhood and you probably never had such a vibrant, growing place as downtown Silver Spring in which to spend time. From your comments, it seems like you a) don't live in Silver Spring and are unfamiliar, b) have never visited, and c) have never been to the current Silver Spring Library. So, thanks very much for your irrelevant input on how we use our taxpayer money. I personally thought that building a better more usablelibrary was in our best interests (and it is), and that including more housing in downtown would further even more foot traffic. The taxpayers aren't spending a cent to build housing here, by the way, and if they were, they'd be making a profit selling units. Get with it or get out.

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding me, Jonathan E. Grant? You're complaining about a public library? Nuts this guy is.

Julian Davis on Oct 30, 2009, 1:28:00 AM said...

Great architecture of the library building . Well done .

Melanie on Oct 30, 2009, 7:52:00 AM said...

This library already looks dated. They got some hack wanna-be starchitects who paid no attention to the communities commplaints. I'll be glad to have a new Library, but this looks like a Howard Johnson's on stereoids. And it is traditional, traditionally ugly, anti-urban, and commpletely unlovable. It's too bad architects live in a macho culture where by they value preening and posing over quiet dignity.

Anonymous said...

There was a lengthy public comments process and thankfully many of the ideas/complaints were not taken into account. The public's vocal minority does not always know best.

Anonymous said...

If by vocal minority you mean the few people who had the guts to say what is obvious to most, that it's ugly as sin, I guess your right. But I was at those meetings and if you analyze the sequence of the previous proposals, it becomes clear the process was arbitrary. Each subsequent proposal bears no logical sequencing to the previous except they are all one modernist style or another, kind of like playing craps (no pun intended). I think the first was vaguely Meisian, followed by the obligatory Corbusian rendition, and it seems to have stopped at the latest retro/doo-op modernism.

Anonymous said...

just because the architect designed 35 or 36 libraries, does not mean they were good. this will be a landmark building in the worst possible way. geesh...what a missed opportunity!

Anonymous said...

Traffic at this corner is already a nightmare, especially when leaving the parking garage, and with a trolly coming by all the time it is going to be impossible.

Anonymous said...

FYI, housing is not part of the library...it is a completely separate building that will be built adjacent to the library when market conditions allow.

eastofthetracks on Nov 8, 2009, 12:03:00 AM said...

Wow! Eric you are the one who is out of synch with Silver Spring. One of the defining characteristics of Silver Spring is diversity and tolerance. That includes diversity of opinions, as well as race, culture, economics and ethnicity.

This is the first time in the many years I have lived in SS that I have heard your "love it or leave it" attitude. It is very Nixonian and out of place in SS. We argue and disagree on all kinds of issues, but never have I heard anyone tell someone to move because they disagree.

I hope this kind of vitriol is not pervasive in the new residents of SS. Then SS would lose the diversity that makes it so unique.

Patentman on Dec 6, 2009, 5:15:00 PM said...

Actually,Eric, I grew up in Silver Spring when Silver Spring was made of small mom & pop stores, along with a Hechts, Jellefs, Penneys, and a Sears.

All of the County's $325 million spent went to making Silver Spring safe for chain restaurants. Excuse me, did I say safe? I forgot about the shooting in front of the Silver Theater. Of course, the same small businesses that made Silver Spring such a fun place growing up did not get a piece of the $325 million. The project was ill planned as the traffic jams on Fenton Street illustrate.


The fact remains that the old library site could be used to build a larger library. There is no need to include additional space for the ever growing Montgomery County Bureaucracy. A simple brick and mortar building will accomplish the job at a much lower cost than the wasteful structure now proposed. As to telling me to support the structure or get out, such a comment speaks for itself.

Anonymous said...

Well said Grant. Another example of Maryland's elected officials spending taxpayer dollars on something totally over the top. At least they seem to have cut out that $800,000 people bridge. The over- done library is already more than enough...

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