Historic board rejects library design

  • Follow Metro

The Augusta-Richmond County Historic Preservation Commission turned down architectural plans for the proposed new $24 million library Tuesday.

An artist's rendering shows a proposal created by Craig Gaulden Davis' firm.  Special
Special
An artist's rendering shows a proposal created by Craig Gaulden Davis' firm.

Commission members voted 4-2 against approving the design by Craig Gaulden Davis architectural firm of Greenville, S.C., after viewing the design at the proposed site on James Brown Boulevard between Greene and Telfair streets.

The matter will now go into mediation between a member of the East Central Georgia Regional Library Board, Planning Commission Director George Patty and historic commission Chairman Mark Lorah. If they can't come to an agreement, the library board can appeal to the Augusta Commission, which can overrule the historic board.

Library Director Gary Swint said Tuesday's decision could jeopardize the project, which has been in the works for four years. The cost of redesigning the building and the time delay would mean it won't get built in the immediate future.

The library is to receive a $2 million grant from the state, but only if it is completed and in operation by June 2010, Mr. Swint said.

Hugh Connoly, the chairman of the architectural selection committee, called Tuesday's decision disappointing.

Tuesday's meeting was a continuation of one last week in which preservation commission members criticized the design and its appropriateness in relation to other Augusta architecture.

Architect David R. Moore II said the 90,000-square-foot building was designed to be in keeping with surrounding buildings, with traditional architectural elements, and to be inviting.

Mr. Moore said 10 architectural styles within a block of the proposed site were taken into account.

Instead of replicating one of those styles, he said, the architects "felt like it was important to do a building that was going to speak to today, speak to the progressive nature of what libraries are today. And we wanted the building to be respectful of these other styles."

Historic board members said they wished they could have been involved in the process sooner.

Member Alan Venable said the building looked "severe and brutal."

"So inviting, and warm and welcoming isn't happening for me," he said.

Mr. Venable also questioned the black marble portion of the building.

"Where do we look for a big black monolith downtown?" he asked.

Mr. Moore said Mr. Venable raised a good point, but perhaps the problem lay in the limitations of the two-dimensional architectural renderings.

The architect also said changing the design would involve more than just sitting down with a red pencil and making some changes.

Reach Sylvia Cooper at (706) 823-3228 or sylvia.cooper@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (32) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
brimisjoshan
2
Points
brimisjoshan 04/30/08 - 05:06 am
0
0
The Historic Preservation

The Historic Preservation Commission continues to live up to its nick name: The Hysterical Commission. They hinder the progress of downtown. History is wonderful but downtown has to move on and it can't if the this commission stands in the way of progress. Over and over again this commission rejects anything and causes more businesses to seek elsewhere to build than downtown because of the cost of dealing with this commission to get an appproval.

lady_alessandra
0
Points
lady_alessandra 04/30/08 - 07:10 am
0
0
It would have been nice if a

It would have been nice if a historic commission had been around when that current eyesore of a ldowntown ibrary had been suggested.

jgdarling
3
Points
jgdarling 04/30/08 - 07:25 am
0
0
Why didn't the library design

Why didn't the library design folks involve the HPC much earlier in the design process for such a large project?

devilishlymad67
0
Points
devilishlymad67 04/30/08 - 07:28 am
0
0
please don't make another

please don't make another mistake by adding a horrible inappropriate building downtown. The current lib. the horror of commerce...to name a few. If they knuckle down and do some overtime they can still pull it off. They just need to look at what is going to fit in with the surrounding area. they aren't being asked to create a new design.

imdstuf
10
Points
imdstuf 04/30/08 - 08:15 am
0
0
Keeping some history alive is

Keeping some history alive is fine and well, but we do not need to live in a time warp. Just because alot of buildings downtown are old does not make them all classics or historical. Some are just old. Some new buildings should pay homage to the past, but not all of them. Otherwise time would never progress. They are basically saying style should never move forward. If they ran the car companies cars would all still look like the Model T.

Little Lamb
45281
Points
Little Lamb 04/30/08 - 08:22 am
0
0
Right, imdstuf. If the

Right, imdstuf. If the Historical Commission wants the architecture to be in keeping with the neighborhood, then they should have built a brick box with paint peeling off the windowsills. A little grafitti on the side would fit in, too.

thisreallysucks
0
Points
thisreallysucks 04/30/08 - 08:23 am
0
0
just wondering is right;

just wondering is right; everyone should see what was torn down to build the current library. That "urban renewal" was criminal. Our public architecture should balance the tension between old and new.

shivas
2
Points
shivas 04/30/08 - 08:34 am
0
0
Build in the modern style.

Build in the modern style. Too many old fashioned people hold us back. Maybe the historic committee would like to see it fashioned after the confederate flag.

Freeman
0
Points
Freeman 04/30/08 - 08:45 am
0
0
Are there any viewable images

Are there any viewable images of the proposed library design on line?

Felix
0
Points
Felix 04/30/08 - 08:58 am
0
0
The image can be found at

The image can be found at http://www.ecgrl.org/

According to Library Board Chairwoman Jane Howington, the project is over budget anyway so maybe the architects should redesign.

Freeman
0
Points
Freeman 04/30/08 - 09:20 am
0
0
thanks for the weblink

thanks for the weblink Hogndas.

Yburenets
0
Points
Yburenets 04/30/08 - 09:21 am
0
0
Right now history is keeping

Right now history is keeping the public from a great modern library, but we do not need to live in a time slump. Just because alot of buildings downtown are old doesn't make them inviting or warm.I agree some new buildings should pay homage to the past. We need some progress and soon before the money goes to another project like the baseball ?????. Just give us a new mordern library. This is not the first project that is over budget. Remember this is not your own personal money it belong to the public taxpayers!!!!!!!

Riverman1
82181
Points
Riverman1 04/30/08 - 09:36 am
0
0
In the city of Charleston, a

In the city of Charleston, a huge modern library was contructed on the corner of historic Marion Square. It wasn't too many years later when it was torn down because it was an eyesore among the historic buildings. The Historic Preservation Commission knows what they are doing. Be very careful building a library that is not keeping with the historic character of the city. How did it get this far without acceptable historic designs being presented? That is not the fault of the HPC.

shelly11662
5
Points
shelly11662 04/30/08 - 09:52 am
0
0
24 million dollars!!!!!!!!

24 million dollars!!!!!!!! where is the money coming from? oh yeah the taxpayers- can i have a say in this since i am a taxpayer?

bleedsgreenandgold
0
Points
bleedsgreenandgold 04/30/08 - 10:29 am
0
0
It's an ugly building. Why

It's an ugly building. Why not make it right rather than settle for the first thing thrown out there. Being a Summerville resident I understand that dealing with the HPC is not always a pleasant experience, but the reality is they are usually right.

Painter
24
Points
Painter 04/30/08 - 10:37 am
0
0
I don't see how a decision

I don't see how a decision like this can be halted just on the say-so of the historic commission. They should have a say but it should not be the final say. This city will never achieve its glory as long as the nay-sayers always have the final vote.

Painter
24
Points
Painter 04/30/08 - 10:45 am
0
0
On second thought after

On second thought after looking at the pictures of the design I think it is an ugly design. But I still don't think the HS should have the power to stop a project like this.

gosh
0
Points
gosh 04/30/08 - 11:04 am
0
0
Whats so ugly about it? Its

Whats so ugly about it? Its looks better than whats down there now.

allie123
0
Points
allie123 04/30/08 - 11:27 am
0
0
The structure they've

The structure they've proposed would be an eyesore. It's so uninviting! I truly wish that the Historic Preservation Commission had been involved sooner. I certainly don't think they're trying to hinder progress in Augusta. It's just an ugly building!

MyTake
0
Points
MyTake 04/30/08 - 11:38 am
0
0
Along with City hall, the

Along with City hall, the existing library looked pretty modern back in the 1960s. I think 9 out of 10 people would agree today that both buildings look pretty awful. Folks can't wait to get rid of the library just on account of its appearance. As pointed out by shivas, the building torn down to make the existing library was incredible. So the point is that mistakes CAN be made. The real problem is that HPC can veto the design but was never asked about it until now. Too late to change the design so it means strongarming the HPC, quite possibly making another expensive mistake, or killing the whole project by making it a Commission football.

sjgraci
2
Points
sjgraci 04/30/08 - 11:50 am
0
0
The drawing looks a little

The drawing looks a little discoish to me.

dashiel
176
Points
dashiel 04/30/08 - 11:54 am
0
0
In the recent past, Augusta

In the recent past, Augusta was in a very large hurry to demolish her historic structures. It's good to know that the Augusta-Richmond County Historic Preservation Committee is there to say "Just a darn minute. Shouldn't LOCAL people with a knowledge of our indigenous architecture have some say in this?"
It's probably unfair to judge from a newspaper print of an artist's rendering, but here goes. On the plus side, the overhang appears to be finished in squares of white marble, homage, I expect, to the (current) Main Library's clean-lined architecture which says 1958 in a good way and has mellowed well.
On the negative side, I would have to agree with Mr. Venable's assessment of the black stone corner section, which looks about as warm and inviting as a Federal penitentiary.
Solution: Re-think that ugly corner. Locate young, hungry architects who love kids and sub out this portion to someone who will put some heart and soul into it. Sure there will be a few monster Pez dispensers and sleek ferris wheels in the running, but also, just possibly, some wonder and inspiration. This is OUR PUBLIC library, not just another skippable building on some campus somehwere.

HITME
0
Points
HITME 04/30/08 - 12:20 pm
0
0
i personally do not like the

i personally do not like the exterior design.
historic or not
try again !

sjgraci
2
Points
sjgraci 04/30/08 - 12:39 pm
0
0
Ok, I figured out what the

Ok, I figured out what the black structure is playing architectural homage to, the toaster on top of the Lamar building. I.M. Pei would be proud.

mable8
2
Points
mable8 04/30/08 - 02:27 pm
0
0
What's wrong with the design?

What's wrong with the design? It looks terrific and would add emphasis to the growth of the community. It's a shame that 6 people are allowed to dictate to the community at large thereby negating what the members of the community would like to see in their area. Like home owners associations, those who THINK they are "preserving history," fail miserably in the consideration of others. Let the library be built as designed; if the so-called Historical Commission wants to continue to preserve historical buildings, keep your ideals to monoriting the ones that currently exist; there are a few around town that could use some up-lifitng. If there is to be any mediation regarding the design, put the problem on the ballot and let the community make the decision in a more democratic way. Government officials seem to enjoy their ability to becme dictators.

vermint
671
Points
vermint 04/30/08 - 03:11 pm
0
0
The true shame is that, with

The true shame is that, with all the architects right here in town, a non-local was chosen. Why should they respect Augusta's history and beautiful buildings? They don't live/work here!

Riverman1
82181
Points
Riverman1 04/30/08 - 04:00 pm
0
0
Mabel8, wouldn't you agree it

Mabel8, wouldn't you agree it is beneficial to control construction of new public buildings? I mean if we can't direct public building design how can we influence private construction?

triscuit
2991
Points
triscuit 04/30/08 - 04:50 pm
0
0
vermint, I think the out of

vermint, I think the out of town architect is working with a local one, their name was just not mentioned. They did the one in Columbia County too.

dashiel
176
Points
dashiel 04/30/08 - 05:43 pm
0
0
Now that I look at the

Now that I look at the drawing again, I think that black thing resembles something off a Kong container ship. Whoever finds it charming or acceptable must really like cookie-cutter Soviet "architecture".

2tired2argueanymore
1
Points
2tired2argueanymore 05/01/08 - 08:18 am
0
0
This is just another one of

This is just another one of those projects where no one paid attention and no one did their homework and no one really cared about going through proper channels or planning a project the way it should have been. Just spend money. The historic preservation commission wasn't created yesterday and it is wrong to put a modern looking building in the middle of a historic area. Savanah has done a great job of preserving their historic buildings and areas and because of this it has provided tourism and revenues. Why do we have to make everything look like the jetsons. Thats fine if we want to start a section of new modern buildings but not in the area of our historic buildings. Save whats left of the past. And put the space age boxes somewhere else.

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs