Mayfield Library to Have a Natural Look
Designers plan to incorporate area wetlands, Metroparks
Architects from URS are only about halfway through the design phase of the new Mayfield Branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library, but they intend to tie the building in closely with its surroundings.
That includes the Cleveland Metroparks North Chagrin Reservation, a trail that will be just west of the new library, and wetlands on the site at 500 SOM Center Road.
"It's the reason the site was chosen. The design of the library tries to synergize with that," said Christopher Diehl, URS director of design.
Architects gave an early look at the design Thursday night at a combined meeting of Mayfield Village Council and the Planning and Zoning Commission. A formal presentation is scheduled to be made in September.
Cuyahoga County Public Library Deputy Director Tracy Strobel said plans are for a 30,000-square-foot, one-story building, with groundbreaking next spring and a ribbon cutting in spring 2013.
Plans call for the library to be set back west off of SOM Center Road, with the parking lot starting 150 feet from the street. Access to the site would be from a road directly across SOM from Hickory Hill Drive.
Diehl said the building would be nestled up to a trail and would utilize wood and stone in its design to blend in with the area. He showed a picture of a person reading a book under a tree to explain the concept.
"That's kind of conceptually what we're after," Diehl said.
The roof would be at two different elevations, starting at 12 feet high around the edges and then going higher. Water from the roof would be channeled into a rain garden that would be around the perimeter.
Other "green" ideas mentioned by URS include keeping wetlands closer to SOM Center Road and using that area for drainage and providing sun access that will allow for natural lighting.
Library officials also answered questions, including what will happen if electronic books overtake their physical counterparts as the preferred means of borrowing. Strobel said the floor plan allows for flexibility should the library have to adapt to changing needs. Executive Director Sari Feldman added that digital downloads increased 300 percent this year, but circulation of traditional books is also up.
"We're at more than 20 million last year. More than half were print books and those numbers continue to rise," Feldman said. She added that the library has also become a place where people go to learn about new media.
Councilman Bill Marquardt wondered why the library was moving to a location that was more remote rather than a site centrally located among its patron base.
Feldman said that the library system covers 47 communities and tries to space buildings out to best serve all of them.
"There is no indication that being next to a school drives any additional traffic to the library," she said, adding that some adults may not use libraries near schools for a while after classes let out. Feldman said a good setting for a library is an area where people go and the Metroparks are near the new site and heavily used.