Design for a pedestrian culture
The building should present a friendlier face to 36th Ave so that the front seems more like a town square than a sulking giant with its back to the city. There should be a bus pullout, bike racks, a large patio with benches or a low wall surrounding it, and a few broad steps to an obvious and inviting entrance. Walkers, people taking the bus, and bicyclists should be given the privilege of not having to walk through a parking lagoon and being able to enter the building quickly and efficiently. If you want to design for the future, design for a future with fewer cars. It is coming. As it is (and this probably can’t be completely fixed) the building is too far from the road making it more closely resemble a technical college in the suburbs than an urban library. Put the cafe on the 36th Ave side, too, and it might actually get enough business from other users that it could expand. Actually, on that note, the lot the library is on is so large there could probably be other business buildings there and the mutual traffic might benefit all. The south side entrance should be redesigned so that people enter on the ground level through an entrance that is not tucked under a brooding overhang where cigarette smoke collects. The “grassy knoll, with an inviting undulating, circular and winding ramp” idea is ridiculous. People don’t actually want to negotiate switchbacks or a ramp to get inside, not to mention the hazards of something like that in the winter. Give them a pleasant space outside to meet and talk, yes, (maybe even buy a lunch or coffee from a cart?), but design for quick access through an entrance that is out in front of the building. I don’t want an “experience” as I approach the building. I just want it to look inviting and for the design to give me a clear indication as to where the door is. Redesign the parking lot so that people can walk on paths that either lead directly through the lot toward the front door or give them quick access to a pathway that leads around the perimeter of the lot. I can’t believe the muddy path along the east side of the lot that leads toward the steps has never been paved! People want to walk to a destination by the straightest path possible, so design for that path and make it pleasant.