Friday, June 17, 2011

Harleston Parker Medal Awarded to Main Library

City officials Rich Rossi, Bob Healy,
David Mahre; Head Librarian Susan Flannery;
Architects Pamela Hawkes, Cliff Gaffney
The 2010 Harleston Parker Medal, considered the highest architectural honor in the Boston Metropolitan area, was formally presented on May 23 to William Rawn Associates and Ann Beha Architects for their work on the Cambridge Public Library. The festive event included guided tours for guests, comments by city officials, architects, and the library director, and concluded with a reception.

Harleston Parker Jury Chair Elise Woodward, AIA, said the panel evaluated the 96 nominated buildings for beauty of purpose, craft, materials, ethics, form, innovation and formal beauty. She praised the seamless incorporation of the original structure with the new building. Alluding to the many new environmental features, she said that part of the pleasure of the building was experiencing beauty as a sustainable form.

Mayor David Maher boasted that when the renovation of Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School next door is completed, its proximity to the library will make it “one of the finest high school campuses in the country.” City Manager Robert Healy said a special pleasure for him, when going to work early, is seeing the sunrise through two corners of the library building. Deputy City Manager Rich Rossi praised the architects who repeatedly asked what patrons and library staff wanted from the building. This building is “a home run for the community,” he said.

Susan Flannery, Head Librarian, applauded the steadfast support of officials “who were on board from the first time the words ‘new library’ were uttered.” She also thanked preceding city officials, library trustees, staff, colleagues in other city departments, volunteers on the Library 21 and Design Advisory Committees, and the thousands of residents who participated in many ways.

She said, “As we hear so often from our customers, it’s hard not to smile when you are in this library. The … building is aesthetically stunning yet welcoming and accessible. It brilliantly embodies the democratic principles of the free public library and signals to all who approach that this is a place for them. It also, as both good architecture and good libraries should do, lifts the mind and the spirit.”

There are always great things happening at the library! For more information on how you can get involved with the Friends of the Cambridge Public Library click here.


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