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for marcel breuer's admirers

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beautiful work, puddles!

Jan 29, 07 1:26 pm  · 
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to me it seems like library needs new bookshelves etc., but they decide to erase the building for it.
i am starting to think of a, library dept. / town politics / local architect, sweetheart deal out of all this.
i think these people are just busted on their tracks by the architectural community.
i do see a change in their language.

Jan 29, 07 1:45 pm  · 
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aml

puddles, fantastic, thank you very much!

kercheval st. looks very nice- very pedestrian street, filled with small businesses... am i understanding this correctly, and the baseball field and the parking lot make a gap in the continuity from kercheval to the library and businesses in front?

Jan 29, 07 1:46 pm  · 
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aml
Jan 29, 07 1:52 pm  · 
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Chili Davis

Where would we be without Google Earth?

Jan 29, 07 2:00 pm  · 
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JMBarquero/squirrelly

Yeah aml, whilst I've not been there that's my deduction as well. However my biggest concern/question is that parking LOT (HUGE ONE) across the street from teh ballfield that seems to be quite empty. Mind you this might be a shear quick observation, but could this not be used as a shared site for additional parking.....since it's literally a stone's throw from the library?

Additionally, it could provide an avenue for them to utilize the current parking lot as a solution for additional space??

Any thoughts?

Jan 29, 07 2:08 pm  · 
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aml

yes, i am also curious about that parking lot [across the baseball field]- it seems to belong to the building to the northwest [over the parking lot]- what is that?

Jan 29, 07 2:10 pm  · 
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aml

...you could use the parking lot for parking below ground and then do a library extension to front the street and parking behind, for the big building to use.

Jan 29, 07 2:12 pm  · 
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JMBarquero/squirrelly

I mean, you could even make that existing parking lot, a structure...to provide ample parking for the store above (seems like some inset 'mini-mall' type structure, with more than ample (seems) parking in front of it.

So ideally you could provide parking for both the stores (more than necessary) and the library, freeing up the site where the existing lib is, hence allowing for the "growth" to over take the grounds where the library sits. Maximize the site for the library uses, possibly incorporating some nice outdoor sheltered spaces for use as courtyards and light....

I mean the possibilities are endless if this would be a solution!

(mind is working.......)

Jan 29, 07 2:37 pm  · 
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aml

squirrelly, i don't think that's a mini-mall- i don't know. i think it's important to find out what that is because if it's some sort of iconic or very appreciated building, they may want to keep the view of said building from kercheval st. i'm only being cautious here...

while we're asking, what is that empty area *over* the big building? seems like some sort of sculpture park? it's on the northwest corner of the pic i posted above. i don't want to overpost pictures needlessly.

Jan 29, 07 2:50 pm  · 
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brian buchalski

hey, sorry, but i didn't happen to catch what the yellow building was when i visited yesterday. the parking lot to the south of it didn't seem very large in person...but they also had some tents set up there for their winterfest so it probably felt more "full" than it normally is.

aml- yes, there is a bit of a break with the parking lot & open baseball field...but again, it didn't feel as dramatic as maybe it is portrayed in the photos (especially dreary, gray winter day photos). truthfully, the walk south of the library towards the high school felt much more arduous since it's a very long block. even the space in front of the high school is massive...and massively underused (but what could you possibly do there?)

overall, the area has a nice pedestrian feel...obviously why the area is popular with families. also, the commercial strip just "up the hill" is rather small adn seemed to have more real estate offices than anything else (but i didn't do a scientific examination on this either). generally speaking, i would describe the grosse pointes as very residential.

Jan 29, 07 3:16 pm  · 
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JMBarquero/squirrelly

aml -
Yeah I agree with you, I don't wish to understate the use of the existing bldg there with the larger surface parking area (where the tents where according to puddles). I suppose my statement about it being larger, is due to the size proportion to the library's small-ish surface parking area.

having said this, could it not be feasible to suggest that the lot be utilized, enhancing its' use by sharing. I mean, I say use the underutilized infrastructure already in place to alleviate issues having to do with parking satisfactions needing to be met. (that is assuming that the lot is barely used on a regular basis).

What you described as the sculptural park seems to be nice and open and maybe should be left as such. I guess there may also be needs to alter some conditions of spaces nearby (as a proposal) but I'd rather see surface parking being touched first, before green space.

Jan 29, 07 3:36 pm  · 
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i talked to vickey bloom, director of the libraries, today. she's going to send a copy of the programming documents to me (prepared in 2001) and a copy of a recent survey that they had done.

they also have a full set of the original bluePRINTs of the building. i didn't get the sense that they have any interest in helping with printing costs so i contacted the local/state AIA leaders to see if they might take printing/postage costs on as part of their current AIA150 anniversary promotion 'neighborhoods by design'. we'll see. if we can get the printing paid for, we can get the drawings. anyone know any other potential resources?

i'm also thinking about contacting a local (detroit) printing house to see if they'd be willing to donate to the cause.

emailed a few people today whom i understand to be interested parties. i've been sent names of a few more, so i'll contact when i get a chance.

once i've received the materials from ms bloom, i'll get them scanned and uploaded to jason's ftp.

re design opportunities:
the potential for introducing parking under the softball field to the north of the site is NOT a dead issue, according to ms bloom. in fact, they're almost assuming it, but it will take some negotiation with the school board. as jason surmised, the library and school board are on shared property (though there are negotiated boundaries) because the libraries were once part of the school program. but the library will have to 'lease' whatever school property they use.

Jan 29, 07 5:42 pm  · 
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snooker

Could it be one of those $1.00 leases, for the good of the community?

Jan 29, 07 5:59 pm  · 
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liberty bell

Is there any kind of "town square" existing in GP? I'm thinking that if parking can be negotiated across the street from the library, that block of the street could have the asphalt removed and be repaved using traffic calming devices to make the street, while available for through-travel by cars, feel more like a pedestrian precinct, so parking across the street won't feel so onerous. This could also help the library feel more "civic", and events at the ball park would be related to a sort of "town square" - the street festival possibilities are endless!

Jan 29, 07 6:07 pm  · 
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joshcookie

Thanks for getting that Steve. I am assuming the recent survey isn't in electronic form, do you know who did it, we should be able to get a copy of the electronic directly from them with a release from Ms. Bloom. Parking under the softball field, or even the shot putt ring to the south seem very promising. If they have options about where they dig, the cost will be effected by how much to displace vs where to do it. I did some quick studies at lunch and was able to put 51 standard spaces and 2 handicap in 2 levels under the current parking...plus 30 ft to the south. this included ramps. The footprint above the parking would allow for up to 58,000 sf of NEW construction in 3 stories and almost 40000 in 2 stories... About the same range as the concept they have already seen, WITHOUT touching the existing building. Hoping that a more accurate site survey can confirm this.

j as in Joshua, not Jason ;)

Jan 29, 07 6:11 pm  · 
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strlt_typ

i was browsing through zoning codes for parking requirements but i wasn't able to find specific zoning ordinances for grosse pointe farms but i found Article V. Parking and Loading Requirements for the city of grosse pointe...

as cautioned on a previous post about spreading mis-information so disclaimer: the following code may or may not apply to our library's zoning but is meant to give an approximation of parking requirements...until further confirmation ...

can anyone confirm or deny whether this applies to our library's zoning:

1 parking per 200 s.f. of floor space for libraries and museums.


this is not urgent. i just want to throw this information in the mix so those interested can begin thinking about and approximating parking and floor space requirements. plus i'm assuming a summary of zoning codes will be included in the package that Steven Ward will receive...??

Jan 29, 07 6:41 pm  · 
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joshcookie

Wow, I was just shooting to match the proposal cited in the minutes, with 60 some odd spaces. I can't get 45000/200=225 spaces here, I am guessing there must be something special waiting for us in the documents on their way to Steve.
j

Jan 29, 07 7:00 pm  · 
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vado retro

one could probably make the argument that a "peak period" of parking determine the amount of spaces, rather than a strict parking space/per square footage. particularly, if the adjacent parking could be used as a supplement. the idea of course is to use new urbanist arguments to save a modernist building. what a coup!

Jan 29, 07 7:11 pm  · 
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snooker

When do you think the peak period of parking would occur in a library?

Jan 29, 07 7:26 pm  · 
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strlt_typ

between library hours...

Jan 29, 07 7:27 pm  · 
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brian buchalski

one of my favorite snapshots from yesterday...there's plenty of parking, but library only gets two spots


also, some more digging reveals that the "yellow" building in aml's diagram is actually an the richard elementary school. kind of surprised me since i didn't spot any playground equipment. and (why didn't i check this before) form wikipedia, a pretty good summary of the "pointes"

Jan 29, 07 7:47 pm  · 
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snooker

I was think "Childrens Reading Hour"....I'm sure every kid in grosse pointe has their own car.

Jan 29, 07 8:11 pm  · 
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archtopus

According to one of my planning profs, regulations like those cited by dammson concerning required parking per building size are often not based on any research done by the city. Rather, city officials more than not just copy the regulations from others, meaning that they may have made sense in the original city to use them, but they have nothing to do with the particularities of that given community. So it could be reasonable to think that it that regulation could either be changed or ignored.

Also, given that many libraries contain a good bit of storage, offices and mechanical space, could that regulation only refer to the public area of the library?

Jan 29, 07 8:41 pm  · 
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strlt_typ
"So it could be reasonable to think that it that regulation could either be changed or ignored."

that would require a variance

Here's their procedure:
http://www.ci.grosse-pointe-farms.mi.us/pdf/zoning_appeals_procedure.pdf

i don't how long the variance process would take in grosse pointe, but for the sake of comparison (or contrast) , in los angeles it's a six month review process and the granting of the variance, which is not guaranteed, depends on neighbors within a certain radius not going against the proposal...

Jan 29, 07 8:58 pm  · 
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AP

a small irish pub out at the beach recently added 2 holes to their bathroom - one men's, one women's. owner had to seek a variance from the parking:square feet requirement. the ridiculous-ness of this was joked about in the local weekly paper.

Jan 29, 07 9:05 pm  · 
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aml

question,

if the 'yellow' building is the richard elementary school,
-is the parking lot theirs? could they share?
-what i thought was a sculpture park might be part of the elementary school- maybe playground equipment [squirrelly, it doesn't look very green]
- i like lb's idea of a civic space or town square. so, just repeating her question- is there a town square? the parking lot space looks like it would work

so right now we have:

expanded parking:
-parking under the ballpark
-parking under the current library parking
-some parking on current library parking [maybe ada and staff] + outdoor activities as squirrelly suggested

expanded library space:
-on the parking lot across the ballfield, possibly integrated to a civic space or town center area [it's nice how this would be located at the 'hinge' of the street, where it changes direction]
- on the current library's parking lot [?]

Jan 29, 07 10:21 pm  · 
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rondo mogilskie

Re that GP Wikipedia's links: might the Grosse Pointe Historical Society be supportive?

Jan 29, 07 10:32 pm  · 
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i'm betting a parking variance would be allowable by the local municipality if it's part of a viable overall plan for the expansion (e.g., we can build a convincing argument).

but once we have a chance to study the existing building, the programming needs, etc, we will need to determine from the library themselves how much parking the facility's activities will require. 225 sounds ridiculous; i think the comment about one-size-fits-all regulations might be right on the money. we'll see what the library board have assumed in the programming materials.


Jan 30, 07 7:03 am  · 
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curt clay

a little note on parking... from my experience, parking requirements usually break down as follows:

for Retail: 5 spaces / 1,000 sq. feet
for Residential 1.8 spaces / 1,000 sq. feet
for Commercial 3.4 spaces / 1,000 sq. feet

so 1 space per 1,000 square feet would actually be a conservative requirement.

Also, parking garages are costing about $20,000 per spaces in urban markets on the East coast. going down, as in under a baseball field, could get even more costly. Keep cost effectiveness in mind here as solutions are proposed.

Great thread!

Jan 30, 07 8:42 am  · 
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won and done williams

My two cents:

1.) Kercheval is a fairly busy street. When I was there, I had to use the intersection light to cross the road. It is unlikely that across-street parking will go over very well with the library or the community.

2.) The aerial you are using off of Google Earth is out-of-date. Since it was taken, a row of parking was constructed that rings the outfield fence of the baseball diamond. You can see it in puddles' photograph above. Unfortunately, the sign indicates that only two spots of the 40-some spots there are for library use. Getting this lot approved for library use would go a long way towards solving the parking problem without the expense of building underground parking.

3.) The client is the library and their biggest concern is a lack of space in the existing building. A truly excellent and exciting design that meets their space-planning needs will go a long way towards convincing them to save the library. I feel the parking issue, while a concern on such a tight site, may be a bit of a distraction.

Jan 30, 07 9:38 am  · 
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agreed (on all of your points) jafidler.

in the spirit of a good brainstorm, i think now is the time for everybody to just dump all of their ideas here - harebrained, overblown, or otherwise, without any of us piping in with 'NO's or 'yes, but's.... we'll certainly get there.

i think, ultimately, we might get to something more immediately within the library/schoolyard area and will need to focus much more on improving the facility than the parking. but i've been enjoying imagining a reworking of the main thoroughfare and the development of a town square in service of improving the library!

this:

A truly excellent and exciting design that meets their space-planning needs will go a long way towards convincing them to save the library. I feel the parking issue, while a concern on such a tight site, may be a bit of a distraction.

...should definitely remain in the fronts of our minds.

Jan 30, 07 10:28 am  · 
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we can get the construction drawing sheets scanned in detroit for $2.50 a sheet (assuming they're normal sized sheets) and uploaded to JOSHUA's ftp as either .tifs or .pdfs. i don't know how many sheets that means. i'm still looking around for someone to donate $$/services-in-kind to help us with this. puddles, sheet, jafidler, or chili, do you know anyone around there?

(i sheepishly admit i had merged joshcookie and jasoncross in my head. sorry.)

Jan 30, 07 10:33 am  · 
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vado retro

put me down for one sheet!

Jan 30, 07 10:45 am  · 
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liberty bell

Put me down for a sheet too. Hell, two sheets. Five bucks for the cause. Paypal, anyone?

Jan 30, 07 11:10 am  · 
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JMBarquero/squirrelly

so we're donating now?
Ok ok, I'll donate to the cause too!

Jan 30, 07 11:15 am  · 
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that wasn't really the intention. i was hoping for aia detroit, aia michigan, any of the local historical or landmarks groups, the printing house, interested local bankers, etc. i don't know that WE can afford to start donating, especially since we're giving our (or your employers') time. if we're going to sustain our energy and interest, i think we have to pace ourselves a little.

that said, yeah sure, i'll pitch in $10 or so. as long as it's not enough for my wife to notice it missing (i.e., it's in my wallet already), i'm safe.

Jan 30, 07 11:30 am  · 
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liberty bell

I was thinking the donation of money was strictly limited to reimbursing reproduction costs. The bigger donation is time and management - who can take on costs themself then set up a paypal account to be reimbursed?

Jan 30, 07 11:38 am  · 
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vado retro

can i owe you til payday?

Jan 30, 07 11:39 am  · 
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joshcookie

Since it looks like we may possibly be paying for this ourselves, lets prioritize, scan the essentials until we can get an "angel donor" to help out. Plans (not electrical/mechanical, or even at this stage structural), Elevations, with selected interior elevations. I can probably do about $10 as well, who is collecting the loot? Maybe we can get a license from the library to sell images to raise money, someone can make t-shirts, posters, sell copies to publishers, memoir writers, the original renderings look pretty nice...
j

Jan 30, 07 11:50 am  · 
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snooker

I'm not sure but I think a major University Library has the Archive of his drawings. Maybe they would donate a set of prints.

Jan 30, 07 12:28 pm  · 
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AP

My thought - we should seek assistance from aia detroit, aia michigan, any of the local historical or landmarks groups, the printing house, interested local bankers, etc and not pay a dime out of pocket. Sure, we need stuff printed, but more importantly, we need allies. Two birds, one stone.

Jan 30, 07 1:00 pm  · 
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Chili Davis

I can scan them for free, granted there aren't a million of them, and they are no larger than a E sized sheet.

Jan 30, 07 1:06 pm  · 
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JMBarquero/squirrelly

good call AP....
and the selling of an image could be kinda neat....selling t-shirts with the library and some sort of archinect phrase to go with it.....in a way, advertising our support to keep it from demo.

Jan 30, 07 1:09 pm  · 
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snooker

Syracuse University has an archive of his works on a digital library. However most everything is sketches. If there are any orange men or women among us maybe they have a contact. I'm sure they would love to add drawings to their collection.

Jan 30, 07 1:20 pm  · 
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aml

i'll pitch in, but it's a lot easier for me if we do paypal. but i agree with ap, we need allies.

Jan 30, 07 2:24 pm  · 
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hckybg

It looks like most of his papers are at Syracuse and the Archives of American Art in DC.

Jan 30, 07 2:57 pm  · 
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vado retro

i was just talking to someone in my office about this and he mentioned that an arte moderne school built in the 20's may be under the wrecking ball as well. why you ask? for parking of course. the interesting thing about this school is that it is two stories but has no stairs. it was designed for accessiblilty and all ramps.

Jan 30, 07 3:08 pm  · 
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have talked to two local (grosse pointe) architects today, one on the library's advisory board for the project and one from the historic district commission. both interesting. will report further when i get a chance to type what they told me.

both of these guys very passionate about the issues we're addressing and both in favor of more creative solutions for the project than they've seen so far.

Jan 30, 07 5:03 pm  · 
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vado retro

here's my idea although i don't know the time frame involved.

1. regional charette teams be established with specific logistics left to those teams. charette teams may seek sponsorship etc for their material costs/ lunch/lattes whatever...

2. an area and exhibit schedule to allow a public viewing of the charette results be established in grosse pointe prior to any charetting. newspaper coverage blurbs etc to fill the local media!

3. teams review program etc and a date(s) is selected for the charettes. these do not have to be the same day but should be within a limited timeframe.

4. charettes should be well documented but no "architecture sucks" t-shirts should appear in any marketing/public information....

5. after each team has finished its charette. all available and relevant material should be sent to grosse pointe where chili davis and puddles will hang it all up....

6. public feedback....

Jan 30, 07 5:19 pm  · 
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