Last week at the Virginia Library Association conference in Williamsburg, I had a chance to talk briefly with the engaging folks at Tappe & BCWH Architects. (They are well-dressed folks, too. But then, they were surrounded by librarians, including me. Ahem.) I gushed all over their booth about the job they did rehabbing Henrico County’s Gayton library. Then: Nasty, crippling-depression-inducing 1974 elementary school, with a book-drop. Now: Apple store meets book-filled yacht. Today I went by there again, and almost bought an iPhone 5 and some of those new earbuds. But the library left the Pump Road harbor and I had to wave goodbye, with pathos.
Sometimes people complain that good design is a luxury for public buildings. But it’s not. When one is in a public space, one should feel that something important is happening there. (See how I used the word “one” there, twice? Don’t you feel enobled?). If people think public spaces are an afterthought, how can we really expect more from our communities, our governments and our public conversations? Thanks, Henrico citizens who voted for the 2005 bond referendum.
Don’t be fooled by the building’s exterior, by the way. It still says Bicentennial-era elementary school. But we can’t have everything, I suppose.
Take a flickr tour.