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The best part of the new section of the library is unquestionably, the high view. Too bad we can still see the other Evans Woollen stinker, the Federal Building. Try it out on a very clear or very stormy day–fun to observe the city in such vastly different moods…

4 responses to “Room With a View: Central Library”

  1. basil berchekas jr says:

    A truly urbane view!

  2. G.B. Landrigan says:

    The view from the new section is great. I have to say, though, that the view of the old and new library sections dead-on from the south is beautiful. The new Woollen addition of the library serves as a wonderful “curtain” or backdrop that actually highlights the original Cret building by obscuring the competing structures behind it. It is almost box for a jewel. While I’m not taken with the silver sides of the building, the overall effect seems to have improved the complex.

  3. Tiffany Benedict Berkson says:

    G.B., respect your opinion, and I know that’s how Woollen himself describes it, but I couldn’t disagree more. I think it’s like flying a spaceship into the back of a beautiful classical building, they just don’t go together. Kinda like tuna casserole and chocolate sauce.

  4. G.B. Landrigan says:

    That’s interesting — I didn’t know he described it that way! What you bring up is a perennial debate: should an addition to an historic building mimic the original to “blend in” or should it be markedly different so that the original and new areas be appreciated on their own merits. In cases such as this, an addition built of limestone or similar colored materials would probably have then overwhelmed the original Cret. One would literally not be able to “see” it. Other possibilities might have included a variety of non-descript materials, heights, and styles behind the Cret in order to make it appear as if they were merely “other buildings” that happened to be behind. That might have worked, but still, I think, would have diminished the original. Except for the time when no buildings existed behind it, I think the Cret is now seen at its very best (at least when looking at it dead-on). That said, we all have different tastes.

    As we are talking about Woollen, however, I have to say that I was very surprised with Butler University’s choice of location for its new theater next to and obscuring Woollen’s Clowes Hall. The new theater is certainly needed and Butler’s campus is quite compact. Still, its location interrupts the vertical nature of Clowes — something that I find disappointing as it is a classic.

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