Posted on Sep 9, 2016 in Alumni News and News
The recently renovated Lawrence Public Library has made yet another high-profile list: this time a compilation of “10 of the Most Beautiful Libraries on Earth” put together by Wired magazine.
The 2014 renovation by Lawrence firm Gould Evans was led by Tony Rohr, a’85, and John Wilkins, a’86, and was overseen by library director Brad Allen, c’97. The $19-million project gutted the original building at 707 Vermont Street, built in 1972, and added 50 percent more interior space on top of the old building’s footprint, plus an outdoor plaza for performance and community events.
As reported in issue No. 4 of Kansas Alumni, the library earlier this year earned one of seven Library Building Awards from the American Institutes of Architects and the American Library Association. The Lawrence Public Library is one of only two U.S. libraries to make Wired’s international list, which draws heavily from Europe and Asia.
“A good library is more than a repository of books—it’s a community resource,” Wired notes. “Many of them function not just as singular temples to the written word, but community centers, auditoria, concert halls, and public gardens. All of them are works of art in themselves.”
In this case a work of art that’s meant to be enjoyed up close, not admired from afar.
“I hope that people see the library as a coming-together space,” Allen says, “that community living room that people talk about a good bit. I hope they see this is as really a place that we can all cherish for generations to come.”
Photograph by Tim Griffith / Gould Evans