Merriweather Library Interior - Part I

Buffalo's newest cultural hotspot opened Saturday morning. When I arrived around 2pm the opening celebrations were still in full swing. Concerts, readings and many of my neighbors were all admiring the interior work of Robert Trayham Coles and the long term efforts and dedication of the Merriweather family and friends in turning a small corner of the City's East side into a sanctuary for learning.
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I've been hard on the building's exterior and so have others. Check out the conversation at Buffalo Rising last week. With that said, I have to remind myself, and I think the metaphor applies in this case, that you can't judge a book by its cover. Here the library's interior is appropriately designed for library patrons to engage in a wide variety of enriching activities. This isn't to say that the same level of detail and design couldn't have been achieved on the inside with a building that's 'pedestrain friendly' on the exterior. It could have. And that remains a missed opportunity. Yet the inside...I think is amazing. Go look for yourself. Here's the library's link to check for hours and special activities.
rear view - Welker and East Utica
I took a few pics. The library was packed with people and I thought it would have been inappropriate to take pics, so I'll return at another point for the interior shots. All the way home I saw people on the sidewalks, talking about the new library here in this little corner of Masten.
The exterior is still having problems. The new stamped concrete sidewalk has a sealer that gets really slippery when wet. So the construction fence is still up around the building's perimeter. Cool design as the library's floor is made of the same material. Outside comes in...
And here's what the Buffalo News had to say about the library opening...Don't forget to check out The Buffalo Criterion.
Artspace ArchiveAnnals of NeglectBAVPAWhere is Perrysburg?Broken Promises...
Writing the CityWoodlawn Row HousesTour dé Neglect - 2006


jpaget said...

Buildings are not books, and they should always be judged by their cover.
That the inside of this monstrosity is nice makes it all the more offensive, not less: it mean we are not accidentally neglected; we are intentionally insulted.
For they obvoiusly had the financial resources and design sense to create something beautiful (as the inside proves), yet still made a deliberate choice to degrade the public sphere.
To top it all off, they made the sidewalk slippery and cordoned it off with chainlink?
Why not also hang a giant banner set in 6-foot type: "Grand Opening - Fuck You!"

I'm submitting it to Kunstler's Eyesore of the Month.

fixBuffalo said...


Just so I understand, the new library has no redemptive value according to your critique?

Let me know,


EAL said...

The circular rooms, tile designs, and stained concrete patterns of the inside are mirrored in many ways on the outside. I would agree that you can't separate the two. Those nice circular rooms do not exist in a vacuum apart from the circular exterior design.

I am beginning to find the mantra that all urban structures come up to the sidewalk and be fronted with glass rather tiresome.

But I will be glad to see some landscaping and the removal of the chainlink. (Sorry--haven't checked out the rowhouses yet!)