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From glass gem to bunker: A D.C. library's sad shift

Post Time:Aug 27,2008Classify:Industry NewsView:151

When [Washington,] D.C., libraries director Ginnie Cooper presented Shaw [NW]residents with plans for a translucent, glass-encased, jewel of a new library, the reaction was generally enthusiastic. But the celebration didn't last very long. With the cost of construction materials soaring by the minute, and with the libraries facing yet another budget crunch, Cooper has had to go back to her architects and seek revisions.

The kind of glass that made up the building's skin in the original plan--channel glass--is expensive and doesn't hold up well, Cooper said. (Though it is popular among library architects in an era when library planners put a premium on openness and transparency in building design.) D.C. library officials estimated the cost of the channel glass in the Shaw project to be at least $1.5 million. "Channel glass is difficult to fabricate and install well - each curved piece is joined with insulation blown into the channel," Cooper says. "Because of this difficulty, this cost will likely increase," according a washingtopost.com column Aug. 27.

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