Saving a historic library
I’m decamping for the city of the straits this weekend, and may or may not do things of historical interest. So, to tide you over, here’s historic preservation news: resources on the 1953 Marcel Breuer-designed Grosse Pointe Central Library, which was slated for demolition but now seems to be saved, with a renovation in the works. This is a great story of web organizing, primarily by architects concerned about the future of this modernist library. Calling themselves the Modern Architecture Protection Agency or mapa, they organized a design charette among architects from all over the world to brainstorm solutions for the library’s future. Historic preservation ftw!
But already mapa had been successful in achieving their original goals. Internal emails early in the process had acknowledged that no member of the group was really intending to be the architect or designer of what the library would eventually build. The group’s agenda was simply to brainstorm, to show that there were other options to razing the Breuer building and, toward that end, their objective had been to make a lot of noise in the community of Grosse Pointe Farms and initiate a public discussion of what kind of library the community wanted as it proceeded into the 21st century: a well-loved landmark linked to a famed architect and an important community philanthropist; a suitably-enlarged facility; or both.
Library to be spared? (Architectural Record)
Central Library redesign spotlight (Grosse Pointe News)