New Central Branch Already Available

The whole City Hall Square needs to be revisited to better avoid vehicle/pedestrian conflict as well as to consider the adjacent children's playground, emergency vehicle access, etc. The relationship of the reconfigured tunnel plaza also enters into the picture.Photo by Ian Shalapata.

The whole City Hall Square needs to be revisited to better avoid vehicle/pedestrian conflict as well as to consider the adjacent children’s playground, emergency vehicle access, etc. The relationship of the reconfigured tunnel plaza also enters into the picture.
Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Creative process associated with architectural fulfillment relies heavily on cognitive appreciation of vision, achievement, and fulfillment. It applies to all aspects of design, whether a heritage candidate or new structure. Judgement is directed as befits social appreciation situated within the context of its environment.

Success is measured within functional and aesthetic considerations that are achieved in fulfilling purpose while addressing visual interest within prescribed financial limits.

Apparently, the local political stripe deems the redundancy of the central branch of the Windsor Public Library as a victim of hard cover to digital transition. Therefore, it must regenerate its purpose elsewhere downtown.

The perception is that relocation is necessitated by excessive, ill- adapted floor area, unimaginative physical expression, and superfluous existing parking, all of which are ill-suited for its intended purpose. Where, in considering purpose, is the forethought, philosophical model, functional program, and cost projection to display the manner in which this is to be achieved?

WPL’s mission statement, and value derived in its operations, dwell on, “freedom to read, learn and discover with access to resources that inform and entertain.” Flexibility directed to discovery requires real or virtual space directed to investigate newly conceived application within the parameters that they will require.

Lego block configured buildings, alone, will not fulfill that criteria.

A sensationally constructed boxed architectural form in the Halifax model, piques interest, but comes at a cost that might better be directed elsewhere. Do the glazed building envelope architectural extensions and light intrusion conflict with use in accommodating stacks or digital work stations?

Two current assets are victims of political will.

Replacement cost of either building form would be in the $15 to $20 million range. Appraised cost for disposal is a value that is only as good as the projected use for a specific purpose. Accordingly, the higher number could not be reconciled for sleeping accommodations in spaces that have 12 foot high, or more, ceilings.

At its half life of 50 plus years, WPL is set to fail in the wake of the Cleary, which was turned over to St Clair College, and the Art Gallery of Windsor, whose space was compromised when conjoined with a misplaced museum.

The drab asphalt setting for the new City Hall can be re-envisioned as a pedestrian mall leading to a revitalized campus which incorporates a new central branch of the Windsor Public Library being housed in the former (current) City Hall.Photo by Ian Shalapata.

The drab asphalt setting for the new City Hall can be re-envisioned as a pedestrian mall leading to a revitalized campus which incorporates a new central branch of the Windsor Public Library being housed in the former (current) City Hall.
Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Wisdom prevails where existing prominent major edifices continue to evolve and serve purpose. Our leaders perceive Windsor City Hall as an irretrievable cause. A mind-set has determined that it no longer suits the original purpose intended. Demolition is the response.

One might consider that a new WPL building does serve a purpose. It could create an integrated sense of vibrant presence to cohesive site development in the form of the existing City Hall. Archive facilities could be better accommodated.

The existing building can accommodate two additional storeys as it presently stands. The manner in which all that floor space is utilized remains an unexplored resource. Imaginative manipulation of indoor outdoor relationships at any level bear investigation.

An inviting horseshoe-framed, three-building arrangement currently presents itself. A creative mindset, dedicated to growing a sustainable opportunity, can enhance the proposed unraveling, mundane, savannah complex into a uniquely notable urban multiplex.

It would make for an interesting competition inviting public or professional input.

The Central Branch of the Windsor Public Library has to go somewhere downtown and the post office, now at Park Street and Ouellette Avenue, is in the middle of what may be called a failing commercial hub. Faludi's grand plan for the Windsor Avenue esplanade from the Detroit River to City Hall went awry resulting in the chaotic mess of casino, government and court installations, and related traffic circulation.Photo by Ian Shalapata.

The Central Branch of the Windsor Public Library has to go somewhere downtown and the post office, now at Park Street and Ouellette Avenue, is in the middle of what may be called a failing commercial hub. Faludi’s grand plan for the Windsor Avenue esplanade from the Detroit River to City Hall went awry resulting in the chaotic mess of casino, government and court installations, and related traffic circulation.
Photo by Ian Shalapata.

About the Author

William Kachmaryk, Sr
William Kachmaryk, is an architect and member of the Ontario Association of Architects. He has extensive work experience in both Canada and the United States and was the original architect of the Pelissier Street parking garage in Windsor.