Library Moves Ahead on Downtown Facade

A renovation of the downtown library’s front entrance took a step forward, following action by the Ann Arbor District Library board at its April 21, 2014 meeting.

Ann Arbor District Library, InForm Studio, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

Rendering of the new design for the Ann Arbor District Library’s downtown building entrance. (Image by InForm Studio.)

The board authorized the library director, Josie Parker, to hire a construction manager for the project. Board members also allocated $18,580 from the fund balance to pay InForm Studio for construction documents. InForm Studio, the architecture firm that previously designed AADL’s Traverwood branch, has been working on this project for several months. An update was given most recently at the board’s March 17, 2014 meeting.

Parker has expressed her intent that the project be kept under $250,000.

Before taking action, the board heard from architect Cory Lavigne of InForm Studio, who presented a revised design for the project. A large translucent sign that had previously been part of the design is now eliminated, after some board members voiced concerns about security issues that it might cause. A bench in front of the building – originally part of the proposed design –  has been removed. Instead, a sign that’s low to the ground is proposed in that location.

The existing teal porcelain metal panels that wrap around the front facade will be replaced with a “concrete skin” panel. The entrance would continue to be oriented to South Fifth Avenue, with new doors into the building. Leading from the front of the building into the vestibule will be two balanced double doors, which will be easier to open than the existing entry, and a single automatic door. A matching set of these doors will lead from the vestibule to the interior of the building.

Lavigne reviewed several other changes, some of which addressed accessibility concerns that were raised in the preliminary design. A heated sidewalk also is proposed along the exterior edge of the steps.

The board spent several minutes discussing a suggestion from Ed Surovell, who wanted more than just one flagpole in front of the building. Trustees reached consensus for the details to be worked out by the architect and the facilities committee, on which Surovell serves. Other members of the facilities committee are Margaret Leary, chair, and Jan Barney Newman.

This brief was filed from the fourth-floor boardroom of the downtown library at 343 S. Fifth Ave. A more detailed report will follow: [link]