The new downtown Renton library will be rich in color, made of durable materials and exude a sense of craft, said Dave Miller of Miller Hull Partnership, the architectural team that’s gathering public input and designing the space.
Miller added that the building’s rich color and warmth could come from wood paired with a palate of brick or terra cotta over a solid cement structure. The goal here, he said, is to create a “non-institutional atmosphere, but something that is durable.”
Miller Hull Partnership, King County Library System and City officials are maintaining a slow and steady forward pace on the design and construction schedule of the new downtown Renton Library.
Miller, Ruth Baleiko and Dri Ralph of Miller Hull Partnership, and King County Library System Director Bill Ptacek briefed Council members on the public comment gathering and design process to date.
Feedback varied widely, but there were also some common threads that emerged, said Baleiko.
“There was quite a variety of feedback and opinions that cancelled each other out,” she said. But a handful of coinciding ideas emerged, including the need for a structure that is authentic to Renton’s history; allows natural sunlight in; provides access to new technology and wi-fi; exhibits public art; and caters to students, seniors and families with children, she said.
“(Art) is one of the things that can really set a building apart and make it a community specific building,” said facilities design coordinator Dri Ralph. Renton’s arts commission will also be involved in the selection of art.
Miller and Baleiko also discussed possibilities for the interior layout design concepts for the exterior with the help of aerial illustrations.
Preliminary ideas include an entrance on the east side of the north corner of the property, oriented toward the Piazza, transit center and parking garage. The new library site is located on South Third Street across from the . Miller Hull has committed to 38 library-specific parking spaces including ADA stalls. The rest of the library parking will be on the street and in the nearby parking garage at 655 South Second Street.
The inside of the building will be modular and the firm has proposed exterior canopies along the south side to give the building “street appeal,” that resembles a retail storefront, Miller said, possibly with a quiet sitting area visible from the street, “much like a storefront would have.” The east side of the building would also have a “retail” look, he said.
Baleiko described Monday night’s presentation as a “snapshot” of public input gathered at the first downtown Renton Library Design public meeting and open house in September. The next open house will take place in early December, although a specific date, time and place have not been announced.
The process is being worked through with a design team that includes members from the City’s Department of Community and Economic Development, Community Services, representatives of the Library Advisory Board, Renton Municipal Arts Commission, and KCLS staff, said Alex Pietsch, Renton’s community and economic development administrator.
The design and document phase will continue through the winter and spring, Baleiko said. Construction could begin as early as the summer or fall of 2012.
The current downtown library, known as the Liberty Park Library, will remain under the City’s ownership. A held its first meeting on September 28 to determine how the building may be used in the future.