Indy’s new downtown library

December 9, 2007 at 8:52 pm 1 comment

The Indianapolis Central Library opened today in downtown Indy, and The Indy Star gave its front page to a review by architecture critic Lawrence W. Cheek.

He finds the library astonishingly well done, despite budget overruns and delays. But I thought his discussion of the purpose of the library’s glass atrium may be applicable to what has been happening in Fort Wayne:

It’s 7,000 prodigiously expensive square feet that could have translated into tons of new books. It might inspire people to feel good about themselves, or about Indianapolis, but what does it have to do with the mission of a library?

Here’s where the future comes into play. When we can do any research on a laptop at home in the den, and download e-books that are as readable as ink on paper — almost at hand right now — then the public library becomes irrelevant unless it works as a place that generates community, a church of information where people come for interactive enlightenment.

Read his article here.

I think Fort Wayne’s downtown library and Harrison Square show that “generating community” is not only important, but entirely achievable. Fort Wayne’s library, although certainly not as ambitious as Indy’s, is already a hub of activity. Our town seems ready to embrace everything a revitalized downtown can offer.

More links:

The Indy Star’s Central Library coverage.

Cheek critiques the Seattle Central Library — and shows he can retract premature praise.

The main Web page for the Indy Central Library.

— Jon Swerens

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Entry filed under: Architecture, Jon Swerens, Urbanism. Tags: , , , .

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1 Comment

  • 1. Eric White  |  December 18, 2007 at 9:08 pm

    Last March I was in Indy for some training and I had a chance to briefly see the outside of this expansion. I was not impressed with the addition from an integrations standpoint. It looks out of place and doesn’t mesh well with the original structure.

    It almost looks as if the designers focused more on abstract design instead of functionality and usability.


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