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vaceltic

Kirn Memorial Library

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How about the first few floors of the 50 story signature tower to be built on the Snyder lot? :P That's downtown.

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The Kirn Library is a singularly unlovely building, but it's rather a shame that it's being demolished without a whimper of protest. It represents the hideousness of its period with admirable forthrightness.

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The Kirn Library is a singularly unlovely building, but it's rather a shame that it's being demolished without a whimper of protest. It represents the hideousness of its period with admirable forthrightness.

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this is a perfect chance for a world renowned design. Think Vancouver BC, Seattle, or hell even Portland's historic library building...or any other amazing library building anywhere in the world. This is a perfect chance for Norfolk to right a wrong and create a library that generations of people will see and love, not just a space to fill with books.

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this is a perfect chance for a world renowned design. Think Vancouver BC, Seattle, or hell even Portland's historic library building...or any other amazing library building anywhere in the world. This is a perfect chance for Norfolk to right a wrong and create a library that generations of people will see and love, not just a space to fill with books.

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The Kirn is unlovely In....your....opinion.........! I think it's a pretty good example of its period, just functionally a problem.

Maybe someone will cover it with bricks and stick a mansard roof on it and graft a few half columns at the entrance...make it look like the mall across the street. Fly huge banner "Harry Potter Celebrates Life Daily Here."

No, I want something better and new too. I'd like to see the new central library incorporated into something spectacular.

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Here is an article from this weeks edition of Portfolio about the Kirn.

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Hey now, I may have said that the Kirn is not a particularly easy building to love, but I do think it would be a good object-lesson in preservation for a city which seems intent upon bulldozing the last of its historic structures. As you say, the Kirn is a strikingly representative example of its period- whatever one's thoughts on the Bauhaus-inspired buildings of its time. As for its current state, it is undeniably shabby. It may well be that the building could not be usefully preserved. I am. however, unaware of any meaningful effort to preserve it in any way. Mostly, I'm troubled at the current mentality exhibited by the city council- bulldoze first, entertain questions later. Would I want to see fake columns and nasty fake mansard rooflines? Absoultely not.

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Hey now, I may have said that the Kirn is not a particularly easy building to love, but I do think it would be a good object-lesson in preservation for a city which seems intent upon bulldozing the last of its historic structures. As you say, the Kirn is a strikingly representative example of its period- whatever one's thoughts on the Bauhaus-inspired buildings of its time. As for its current state, it is undeniably shabby. It may well be that the building could not be usefully preserved. I am. however, unaware of any meaningful effort to preserve it in any way. Mostly, I'm troubled at the current mentality exhibited by the city council- bulldoze first, entertain questions later. Would I want to see fake columns and nasty fake mansard rooflines? Absoultely not.

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Funny Tombarnes the debate about the future of the Kirn Memorial Library sounds eerily similar to the debate about what to do with the Martin Luther King Central Library in Downtown DC. This may be an issue for many cities around the country as moribund Downtowns have come to life through redevelopment. I hope Norfolk stops the bulldozing and look at renovating or replacing the Kirn Library.

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Considering the light rail is running right through the middle of the building, renovation is out of the question.

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Lack of healthy public involvement seems to be a common thread running through too many downtown-related decisions these days. And leadership seems weak, diffuse and even indifferent.

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Lack of healthy public involvement seems to be a common thread running through too many downtown-related decisions these days. And leadership seems weak, diffuse and even indifferent.

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I agree 100 percent with that. But these days, strong civic leadership includes citizens in the planning process more than in the old days, when the boys in the back room smoked their stogies and awarded contracts to their old friends. That was the old way of doing business in manu cities, and Norfolk needs to fill the vacuum a little better now that those times are over. We used to have dynamic and insistent leaders like Mason Andrews who carried the day with will, passion and intelligence. I'm not sure how to change things, but our brightest and most expert citizens have got to step up and be heard more than they have recently. The City needs to help to make it happen so that it doesn't come in the form of a reactive force against everything it is trying to accomplish. I'd recommend an on-going, active and open planning process for downtown development; not just neighborhood association meetings and pamphlet propaganda.

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That's my point in a nutshell. Once again, Norfolk's leaders have made important decisions without public comment or input. The debate (if there even has been much of one allowed in Norfolk) is strikingly similar to the oke about the MLK Library in downtown Washington. Your point is taken Urbanvb. I fully expect to see the bulldozers at the Kirn's doorstep in no time at all. It just appears as though public debate has not entered the picture in the way it might have done.

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I do not see why it has to be in DT although that's the best location. I would be perfectly happy with it being in the St. Quadriant Section when its all said and done. I think the current location of the Kirn should be more functional, a library will not do the trick if you ask me. I was excited about the first rendering with the HRT headquarters over top, but I guess that idea is now gone. I do not think developing a TOD with the idea of a library is such a great idea. TOD yes, TOD/idea of Library NO....

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I have no interest in saving the Kirn. I'm sure i'm in the minority here, but I find the building ugly quite frankly. What I am more interested in is building a new public library that is of such architectural significance that it will be worth saving in the future. The situation with the kirn and the situation with the Hilton are like night and day. There was a real strong and feasible argument for saving the structures on the Hilton property but I'm just not seeing it for the Kirn. It's definitely not something I'd lay down in front of the bulldozer over...

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I'll disagree with you, Vdogg. I think it's one of Norfolk's few really unique, modern designs. I've always found the facade, materials, colors and the details handsome. It was open and sparkling in its day, yet has some classic references too. The inner staircase was considered very elegant when the building was new. I never understood the meager, elongated first floor plan though, and it's too small to be much of a central library. Also, it's a low-rise on a valuable piece of property and has little parking for patrons, although they can go to the mall. I suspect that it will be gone soon. I'm more concerned that the city has no real plan for a new central library. Another HRT office building? Probably no need for that, especially there. I'm going to miss the Kirn, but I'm not going to miss the three that are giving way for the Hilton very much. Modern architecture is always not to everyone's taste. On the other hand, I thought the Maritime Tower really was a weak design--50s modern at its worst. Yet it was a mixed-use design and way ahead of its time.

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Martin Luther King Library Washington, DC

Library.jpg

Kirn Memorial Library Norfolk, VA

kIRN.jpg

I can't help but notice the similarities of the two buildings. The mayor of DC in 2002 proposed putting the Martin Luther King Library (DCs central library) up for sale. The Library is in deplorable shape with leaking roofs, delapidated bathrooms, substandard electric power. With all of these problems the building is worth saving because it is the only monument in the city to the Rev. Martin Luther King and is the only building designed in the modernist style of pre-eminent modernist architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Luckily the library still stands and as far as I know has not been sold. . The Kirn library also is indicitive of 1960's modernism. The library was designed by Norfolk architect William Marshall Jr. once the president of the American Institute of Architects. The library along with Scope, Chrysler Hall, and the Raddison represent the first wave of redevelopment when cities leapt into the future and thought big. If Norfolk really desires to be a prominent city than they must plan carefully and give much thought to what to do with the Kirn Library (perserve or demolish).

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Man you guys just don't have any imagination. Just create a really long LRT train that has the library in the train.

Duh.

Kind of like a Bookmobile.

Honestly, books are kind of outdated. Portable Document Format. Google is doing some wierd stuff where they are hitting major libraries (in real cities) and taking pallet loads of books, scanning them, and returning them. They don't cut the bindings off, like the people that do the book piracy.

I know, I know, portable computers don't have battery life and books are easier to read. But technology advances every day. Books are rapidly becoming obsolete.

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Books may be rapidly becoming obsolete, but I think there will still be a need for libraries as repositoies of information- in whatever format. One has only to visit a few new libraries, like the beautiful new one in Nashville to see that they can and do have a place in the technological world of today. I'd hate to see them disappear.

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I don't know what a local library should try to be. Libraries are not taking advantage of new technologies fast enough to keep up and set a standard for the next few decades. That's probably largely because of Moore's law and related rapid technological advances. I agree that they should be repositories of all possible formats for information. They should have powerful file servers and be able to provide at the least all the information to the public that is not available at Blockbuster, mp3 downloading sites and on line video servers, and a lot more. I suspect that the entertainment industry and their legal teams are blocking development of this potential service with a vengeance. But I just can't draw a clear line between knowledge and entertainment. Ultimately we will have to ask ourselves whether or not the sum of human knowledge should be freely available to everyone and how to provide it. I submit that this is a first amendment issue, and I may be revealing my socialistic side. I'm also not sure that this shouldn't be mostly a federal project. It will be interesting to see what comes.

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The Kirn Memorial site is the perfect opportunity to build something great. (take advantage Norfolk, this is the time)....

A good idea would be to relocated near the downtown plaza area....Maybe that will help blend the two areas (The New St. Pauls Quadriant)...

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The Kirn Memorial site is the perfect opportunity to build something great. (take advantage Norfolk, this is the time)....

A good idea would be to relocated near the downtown plaza area....Maybe that will help blend the two areas (The New St. Pauls Quadriant)...

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