Bay library design progresses

A rendering of the library's front, east-facing elevation. The building's white plank siding and stone work mirrors other structures in Bay. (Courtesy HBM Architects)

Representatives from the Cuyahoga County Public Library and HBM Architects visited Bay Village to present an update of the design process for the new branch library. Exterior and interior renderings, as well as site plans, were shared with the Cahoon Park trustees – the mayor and members of City Council – during the Feb. 4 council meeting.

This was the first public glimpse of design drafts since last March. Those were rejected amid residents’ concerns that the architecture didn’t fit in with the style and structure of other buildings in the city.

CCPL then restarted the process by hiring a new architecture firm and engaging in more substantive discussions with the public. The library system held several input sessions with the community, students and branch staff to help provide guidance to the new team of architects.

The result was a set of design principles that included a blend of modern and classic design, group and private spaces, an open yet intimate feel, and a space that can adapt to changing community needs while honoring tradition. Oh, and it should look nice.

“I always believe that the library should be at least as beautiful as your living room – or why would you leave your house?” said Tracy Strobel, CCPL deputy director. “And in Bay Village, that’s a high standard.”

HBM Architects, a nationally recognized firm based in Cleveland that works almost exclusively in library design, began their presentation by showing that they had done their homework. The slideshow began with the arrival of the Cahoons in 1810, and quickly progressed from the history of the city to the history of the city’s architecture.

Stephanie Peters, one of the project architects, highlighted more than a dozen of Bay’s historical structures – city hall; the Community House; Rose Hill; former school buildings of Forestview and Parkview; and homes built by early Dover families including Osborn, Aldrich, Tuttle, Powell, Foote, Hagedorn, Wischmeyer and Lawrence.

Peters also shared insight into some of Bay Village’s more recent properties that follow the New England Cape Cod and colonial styles first introduced in the city by influential builder and Bay resident Arthur Krumwiede.

HBM president Peter Bolek identified specific style elements from the structures they reviewed, including wood siding, front porches, heavy trim detail, dormers and transom windows. He then presented an architectural rendering of the new branch, showcasing some of those same elements.

The white plank exterior features a minimal stone base on the east-facing front facade, that gradually builds to encompass the first story as it wraps around the building toward the tree line on the west side.

A rotunda houses the main entrance and a covered colonnade evokes the feel of a front porch. Two chimneys rise from the south and west facades. A rooftop patio with an indoor/outdoor fireplace overlooks the Cahoon Creek valley, flanked by sections of living roof on either side. The walls are lined with double-hung windows and transoms; dormers stick out from the metal roof.

“The architecture on the exterior has a very strong and prominent feel,” Bolek said, “but we have the opportunity to create a very contemporary, 21st-century library within the structure of the envelope that we think is really indicative of what we learned about Bay Village, and the quality of housing and structures from early on until now.”

The interior has separate adult and youth areas, meeting rooms, small study rooms and a cafe. A second floor overlooks the space below, with quiet reading/study rooms and a corridor that can be lined with tables and chairs.

Four different site plans offer slight variations in traffic patterns, green space and parking configurations.

“It’s certainly rare to get a history lesson in an architectural primer to city council,” Council President Dwight Clark remarked to the architects after the presentation. “I'm impressed by the depth of work in the planning and the variation of options you’ve provided. ... It shows the desire to try to do something that fits with the style of our village.”

Future designs will be shared with city leaders as more details are added, before being submitted to a joint meeting of the Planning Commission and Architectural Board of Review.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 10:24 AM, 02.19.2019