Monday, October 6, 2008

Style and Function. Or Not.

One of my classes is at the Harold Washington Library.  At first, I was pretty excited about this since I hadn’t actually been inside it. 


Now I’m not too keen. 


I never liked the outside of the building.  It’s red brick with these peculiar green copper sheilds  that looks a bit like giant beetles are crawling the sides and a huga carriage lantern sort of affair.


When I walk inside, my first reaction is “Where are the books?”  It’s a large empty marble foyer with a big square reception desk.  Browsing seems an impossibility.  Off to the side, there’s a door to the “Popular Library.”  Is is all fiction?  Just Romance novels and Stephen King?  Who knows?


Find your way to a couple of escalators tucked into the side, mounted next to a couple of low wading pool type fountains.  The escalators lead up to the third floor.  After that, you have to go past the guards and ride escaltors in the center of the building or elevators at the opposite side.  Not especially handicapped friendly.


It’s just not very cosy or modern or friendly or anything really.  There’s not much about it that suggests it was designed as a library.  I am partially bitter that they chose that design over one by Helmet Jahn, but really, that design?


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