library

  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/swilkeshapiro/dmperspective.com/modules/views/views.module on line 879.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_argument::init() should be compatible with views_handler::init(&$view, $options) in /home/swilkeshapiro/dmperspective.com/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_argument.inc on line 745.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/swilkeshapiro/dmperspective.com/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 589.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_submit() should be compatible with views_handler::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home/swilkeshapiro/dmperspective.com/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 589.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_node_status::operator_form() should be compatible with views_handler_filter::operator_form(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/swilkeshapiro/dmperspective.com/modules/views/modules/node/views_handler_filter_node_status.inc on line 14.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/swilkeshapiro/dmperspective.com/modules/views/views.module on line 879.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_style_default::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /home/swilkeshapiro/dmperspective.com/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_style_default.inc on line 25.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/swilkeshapiro/dmperspective.com/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 135.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/swilkeshapiro/dmperspective.com/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 135.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/swilkeshapiro/dmperspective.com/modules/views/views.module on line 879.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/swilkeshapiro/dmperspective.com/modules/views/views.module on line 879.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_field_comment::init() should be compatible with views_handler_field::init(&$view, $options) in /home/swilkeshapiro/dmperspective.com/modules/views/modules/comment/views_handler_field_comment.inc on line 50.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_boolean_operator::value_validate() should be compatible with views_handler_filter::value_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/swilkeshapiro/dmperspective.com/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter_boolean_operator.inc on line 149.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/swilkeshapiro/dmperspective.com/modules/views/views.module on line 879.

The books are unpacked, computers humming, and solar panels generating at the recently re-opened Franklin Avenue branch library. Despite some minor quibbles, I think that the building is a fabulous success! Kudos to the Library board, the architect, the builder, and the City for promoting sustainability as a core component of the project.

Franklin Avenue Library Sign: Sign at the newly-renovated Franklin Avenue library branchFranklin Avenue Library Sign: Sign at the newly-renovated Franklin Avenue library branch

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Last week, I took the following photo at the northwest exit of the downtown branch of the public library!

In Case of Emergency, Break Glass?In Case of Emergency, Break Glass?

So, you know that while I think the design concept behind the downtown library is somewhat intriguing, I am not a big fan of it as a public building. I believe that just like you and me, municipal architecture has a responsibility to be a good public citizen.

To residents, this means things not littering, stopping at red lights, and ending your 4th of July celebrations by midnight.

Public buildings have different responsibilities:

  • Respecting the street edge
  • Presenting a gracious and understandable entry
  • And perhaps most important, not trapping their occupants inside in case of an emergency

Though the entire facade (including the exit door) is made of glass, it is unlikely that occupants could break it in an emergency - it is three layers thick, plus a layer of copper mesh.

I hope there is a good reason for blockading this exit with a 2x4 from the outside but I can't think of one. While it is unlikely that there would be an emergency necessitating use of this exit, emergencies are by definition unplanned and emergency exits are not allowed to be blocked.

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I fear that we are losing the collective ability to create and appreciate good public architecture.

There are many facets to this argument. The one I will address in this post is the experience of a pedestrian arriving at and entering a public building. And what building could possibly be more public than a library, where citizens are invited in to browse through a collection of books (that they own collectively), host meetings, study, research, listen to music, use the internet, attend lectures.

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I make no secret about my opinion of the Des Moines Library Central Branch design. Despite its green bona fides, I think it is inappropriate for a public building to be so architecturally inaccessible.

Enter the Atlanta Public Library downtown branch! I am in Atlanta for a conference (learning about the new EPA lead paint rules among other things - more on that later). After classes today, I went on a long walking tour of downtown Atlanta and stumbled upon Marcel Breuer's Bauhaus/brutalist older cousin to the Des Moines Public Library (designed by David Chipperfield).

Atlanta Public Library Main ApproachAtlanta Public Library Main Approach

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