Architechtural Difficulties The Inter Ocean 10, Oct 1897
BEST IN THE WORLD. Arehlteetaral Dlfaealtlew. It was necessary under the contract with L Soldiers' home to locate In advance and to lay out and plan in detail the quarters to be occupied occupied by the memorial ball and ants-rooms. ants-rooms. ants-rooms. This forced upon the board of directors the extremely extremely difficult and unusual problem of laying out aud determining the whole Interior plan of tiie building at the time these contracts were made, and In advance of the adoption of the general plan for the exterior and even in advance of tha selection of an architect. Tbla course waa entered upon by tha board with many misgivings, misgivings, aud In the face of some adverse criticisms. One prominent firm of architect refused to Join In the competition for the general plana of the building because they declined to be bound by tuc restrictions which the Interior plsns Imposed. The Interior plans, however, were generally approved approved and commended by the competing architects, architects, and we are confident that the verdict of experience will be that the convenience and general adaptation of this building to library purposes will be one of Its crowning glories. There were other grave, practical difficulties. The building and library, by reason of their location In the business center of the city. we; to be immersed in an atmosphere filled to saturation with the sulphurous gases of soft coal smoke. Their destructive agencies would speedily speedily destroy mural paintings aud the decorations most commonly used. Believing that the mlssioa of this library Is to Instruct, elevate, and refine by teaching the beautiful as well as the good and the true, the directors were confronted with the problem how to make this building beauti ful and Its decorations indestructible, with the means at their disposal and without sacrificing convenience and utility. An architect, unhampered by any limitation ef cost or utility,-has utility,-has utility,-has a comparatively easy ta.k in planning a monument to his art and Caste, but to take interior plans which had "been rendered rendered rigid In many respects by contracts which could not be disregarded and clothe them with a. beautiful and dignified exterior and adorn and embellish them artistically, and In a way to resist resist the destructive agencies prevailing, constituted constituted a problem calling for the highest order of talents -and -and culture. A Trlamph of Art. To Messrs. Shepley, Rutan A Coolidge, tha architects, and especially to Mr. Chanes A. Coolidge of that firm. Is due In the largest measure measure the credit for whatever of art and beauiy has here found expression. We believe that be has erected here a monument which shall forever prove that the highest triumph of arcbltcctuie and of art Is to make the necessary and the useful enduring and beautiful. The plans were adopted and the architect employed employed Feb. 13. 1892. from which time the work of construction steadily progressed. After very careful Investigation, under the guidance of General William Soot Smith, a s-tem s-tem s-tem of foundatlona was sdopted consisting of piling driven to the underlying hard-pan. hard-pan. hard-pan. , This system has proved entirely satisfactory and our building, three years after the walls have been completed, shows no evidences of settlement. Ground was broken July !7. 1892. and the corner-stood corner-stood corner-stood laid Thanksgiving day, 18S3. I will not weary you by detailing the several steps In the construction of this building. The first great aim of the board of directors haa been to make It aa convenient and useful as possible. The first direction to the architects was. "Let there be light," and they have given us light everywhere. The controlling idea in the Interior plans has been to make the book-rooms book-rooms book-rooms the heart of the library, tbe center from which everything shall radiate, thus facilitating access from every quarter and lightening the work in every department. This building has no shams. It Is genuine, solid, and honest, its foundations are aa stable aa tbe struct re of tn globe. Its mosslcs. found here In greater profusion profusion than in any edifice erected since the thirteenth century, have tbe same elements of Indestructibility which have preserved the wall of St. Sophia since tbe days of Justinian. It ha been built for today and for a hundred year and will stand aa a monument of the pubTlc spirit of our citizens long after the growth of this library library shall overflow its ample walla.