Thursday, October 14, 2010

Georgetown Library Emerges From Ashes Dapper As Ever

Closed since a rooftop fire and water damage compromised its structural integrity in 2007, like a Phoenix, the classy new Georgetown Library will be reborn this Monday, as it once again opens its doors to the public. Luckily for DCMud, DC Public Libraries offered guided media tours, enabling a sneak peak at the completed restoration. The District Library development staff in partnership with Martinez & Johnson Architects have done a remarkable job of resuscitating the historic library, creating a new and improved building, while maintaining and preserving its storied character.

By excavating and expanding the front porch and the back terrace, as well creatively reinventing the top floor attic space and the basement levels, the development team has significantly expanded the total square footage available for library programming. The once gutted and destroyed interior now features improved lighting, state-of-the-art electronics, restored or impeccably replicated millwork and wood furniture, and much more. There is an expanded dedicated space for teens, including several high-end Apple computers for arts and media-specific exploits. A more modern staircase has been installed through the middle of the building, intended to make the multiple levels the library has to offer more visible and obvious to visitors. A larger and artfully designed Peabody Room has been included, housing a collection of materials on the history of Georgetown. A new bright, and more open children’s room with a special glass-enclosed story time space, as well as an outdoor amphitheater-like, stair-cased grass terrace have been created for children's events. Words don't do the new library justice, go see it for yourself Monday. In the meantime, check out the photos below for a glimpse of the restored library.

Library will not tempt fate, fireplaces only for show

New teen room...not

Back facade

Terraced back lawn

Installation of new roof

Peabody Room

Perfectly crafted millwork

Modern stair case


Anonymous said...

It would be wonderful if library branches in less affluent neighborhoods, such as the Northeast Branch, received similar resources for their renovations.

Anonymous said...

The work done on the Georgetown Branch Library was not a was a RESTORATION...because there was a FIRE...that DESTROYED the second floor!

Being located in an affluent neighborhood had nothing to do with it.

Anonymous said...

I don't necessarily agree with the first post, as there are a number of examples of lower class areas receiving state of the art libraries and community/rec centers, but the 2nd post is really delusional if they seriously think everything that's burned down is always rebuilt (and so luxuriously) and that the affluence of the neighborhood didn't play a role in that.

Ken on Oct 14, 2010, 10:31:00 PM said...

Anon 1, I dissent. I don't think you've been paying attention to what's going on in the other wards if you think they've been left aside while the "affluent" neighborhoods get the attention. This administration has done far more to help struggling neighborhoods with all kinds of development projects, public and private. Have you seen the Deanwood rec center and pool? Blows away anything in NW. How about the Shaw and Anacostia libraries? And the streetcar line, city agency buildings, and public housing rehab projects all over southeast DC. Your inferiority complex is not warranted.

Anonymous said...

Go to benning or anacostia and look at their new libraries. I don't think either community has more money than Capitol Hill where the Northeast Branch is located. The first comment shows why the city really needs new libraries though. It wasn't very smart.

Chris D! on Oct 15, 2010, 12:27:00 AM said...

libraries and rec centers are two very different amenities. let's not even have this debate on a ward by ward basis. let's look at the main branch of the library versus what happened in comparison. and the level of finish and fit out at g-town is sick. ummm, and you can flap your gums all you want to about deanwood, but the wilson aquatic center is! nothing like that anywhere in the city...

Semantics said...

Third poster,
Please be cautious about using "lower class areas." I believe you meant to write "lower income areas".

I live in a more affordable section of the District, but am in no means of a lower class than you or others reading this blog.

Anonymous said...

I'm the third poster and I also live in a "lower income," lower class, working class, environment so I certainly didn't mean anything derogative. "Middle class" and "upper class" aren't derogative so I'm not sure why you think "lower class" is derogative - I certainly don't view us as being less than the other classes. You having a negative connotation of the word is your own doing.

Anonymous said...

"Lower class" is different than "lower income".

Lower class refers to the unemployed, hence the negative connotation. Class is often defined by culture, level of education, feasibility for upward mobility, and health.

Lower income persons are constituted by workers with lower wages. A teacher earning a modest wage of $35,000 is considered to be low-income in DC, despite his/her academic achievements and upbringing.

Anonymous said...

Wrong. Unsupported.

Critically Urban on Oct 18, 2010, 1:20:00 PM said...

The fact that neighborhoods in both wealthier and poorer sections of DC are receiving new libraries is just one of the shining examples where no part of the city has been left behind. Had the G'town library not burned down, it certainly was not due for a complete rehab. The new Anacostia and Shaw libraries are arguably more modern, slick, and dramatic. They certainly are not for lack of resources. The Tenleytown (new), Mount Pleasant (renovation), Petworth (renovation), Washington Highlands (new), and Francis Gregory (new) libraries are also across the board in terms of their neighborhood locations. In fact I would argue that most of these are in lower income neighborhoods.

A look at some of the new and renovated libraries:

Anonymous said...

Usually I am one to defend against the notion that upper income neighborhoods get better services and facilities, because usually they don't. However, in this case, I cannot with a straight face say that a neighborhood east of the river would have received a new building or restoration of an old building that even approached the quality and expense that was lavished on this project. Its beautiful, but its extravagant for any neighborhood. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

Much of the so noted 'extravagance' was existing to the building and not added. Should we gut the historical integrity of our buildings in order to stay within a base line of level of detail and finish?
This is an historically significant building and should be preserved, not turned into a vanilla space. All of the new libraries under construction are state of the art and high level of design. Thank God!!!

CCCA Prez on Oct 19, 2010, 5:46:00 PM said...

I think I recall reading somewhere that residents and maybe business owners did some FUNDRAISING, formed a non-profit that raised money, for the restoration which is why it is as wonderful as it is. This did not happen in less affluent low-income neighborhoods with great new libraries.

Low class = the stereotype of some Sanford&Son characters; Amy Winehouse; Tiger Woods; Rod Blagojevich, pro athletes/politicians who abuse and/or cheat on their wives; soon-to-be ex Mayors who ignored democratic principals, respect for the public and the reason they were elected. You can be rich and low class - low class knows no racial or income barriers.

Low income = teachers making less than $60k/year (not those making $120k) cafeteria staff, custodians, street sweepers, most artists, small business people, many govt workers and "working" former offenders. Upbringing has little to do with it.

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