Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Everything Must Change. Nothing Stays the Same.

When the proposal for the conversion of the Hudson Armory into the Galvan Community Center came before the Historic Preservation Commission in August 2013, there was concern about the design for the "medical wing" that would be built on the footprint of the mid-20th century garage and also the design for the entrance to the library on the State Street side of the building.

The HPC was looking for greater modernity in the design and was troubled that not enough had been done to differentiate the new construction from the original building. Speaking of the "medical wing" in particular, HPC member Phil Forman wanted to know why the architects had not taken a "more aggressive approach to differentiation." HPC member Tony Thompson commented that the design for the addition "seems to be taking architecture from a different period--a 1930s civic building." 

The portico planned for the entrance to the Hudson Area Library also drew criticism. Thompson questioned the rationale for having a Classic Revival entrance instead of continuing with "the modern feel of the courtyard." HPC member Scott Baldinger declared the proposed portico "not in the spirit of the building," and Thompson concluded that "adding two historic styles to the building turns it into a mongrel."

The proposal for the Galvan Community Center faced different objections on October 2013 when it was the subject of a Planning Commission public hearing. Residents were concerned about parking and the impact of a walk-in clinic on the surrounding neighborhood.

It turns out all the angst was for nothing. Gossips learned recently that the "medical wing," the library entrance with its Classic Revival portico, and the plaza on State Street have all been dropped from the plan. The garage on Short Street will still be demolished, but nothing will be built in its place. The library and the senior center will be entered from North Fifth Street, and the plaza, originally planned for the State Street side of the building, will now be on the Fifth Street side. The following is a quote from the library's website: "Facing our entrance on Fifth Street will be a large plaza, with a stone surface, shade trees, benches, chairs and tables, bluestone 'seating steps' and grass where people can sit and read." 

Work on the Fifth Street plaza is well underway, but one wonders why, since the original plan for this side of the building involved nothing more than the addition of a handicapped ramp, the revised plans did not come before the Historic Preservation Commission for a certificate of appropriateness.     

1 comment:

  1. Glad for no walk in clinic and removing the attached addition