Adjaye to Reveal Library Design Concept

Nov. 1 at the Rachel Murrah Civic Center

Adjaye to Reveal Library Design Concept

Architect Sir David Adjaye will present his long awaited conceptual design of the new Winter Park Library & Event Center.

Wednesday, Nov 1, 5:30 to 7:30 pm
Rachel D. Murrah Civic Center
1050 W. Morse Blvd.

The event will be a special meeting of the Winter Park City Commission. Mayor Steve Leary will open the meeting and introduce members of the library-event center design team, which will feature lead architect Sir David Adjaye. Public input will follow the formal presentations.

Library-Event Center Design Team

The design team assembled for this project are Pizzuti Solutions, the Owner’s Representative that will work with City staff to manage the project, budget and schedule; HuntonBrady Architects, which will develop the signature architectural design in partnership with Adjaye Associates; and the construction management team, which will consist of Brasfield & Gorrie and Lamm & Company.

Sir David Adjaye

Sir David Adjaye was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and named one of 2017’s 100 most influential people by TIME magazine. His firm is known for its innovative approach to library design. Adjaye’s projects include the award-winning Idea Stores in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African-American History & Culture, which opened September 2016 in Washington, D.C.

Listen to Live Broadcast

Those unable to attend can watch the presentation broadcast live on the following outlets.
Orange TV Channels:

Spectrum (formerly BrightHouse) Channel 488
Comcast® – Channel 9
CenturyLink® – Channel 1081 (HD) Channel 81 (SD)
WSWF (digital over the air) Channel 10 – 2

  • author's avatar

    By: Anne Mooney

    Anne Mooney has assumed the editorship of the Winter Park Voice from founding editor Tom Childers.

    Mooney got her start in New York as a freelance line editor for book publishers, among them Simon & Schuster and the Clarkson Potter division of Crown Books. From New York, she and her husband and their year-old toddler moved to Washington, D.C., where the two ran a newswire service for Harper’s magazine. “We called it Network News,” said Mooney, “because it was a network of the Harper’s writers, whose work we edited into newspaper style and format and sold to papers in the top U.S. and Canadian markets. We were sort of like a tiny UPI.”

    The newswire ceased operation with the death of Mooney’s first husband, but Mooney continued to write and edit, doing freelance work for Williams Sonoma cookbooks and for local publications in D.C.

    In 2005, Mooney moved to Winter Park, where she worked as a personal chef and wrote a regular food column for a south Florida magazine. She took an active interest in Winter Park politics and was there when the Winter Park Voice was founded. She wrote occasional pieces for the Voice, including the Childers bio that this piece replaces.

    The Winter Park Voice is one of a large number of “hyper-local” publications that have sprung up across the U.S. in response to the decline of the major daily newspapers and the resulting deficit of local news coverage. The Voice’sbeat is Winter Park City Hall, and its purpose is to help the residents of our city better understand the political forces that shape our daily lives.

  • author's avatar

9 replies
  1. Checkmate? says:

    If this guy has been knighted by the queen and is one of the most influential people in the world, and runs an international architecture business, has anyone bothered to ask how he had the time to create the design for the new Winter Park library all by himself?

    Or is he just the front man to give the unpopular project some snob appeal in Winter Park?

    A City Commissioner should ask him tonight, “WHO specifically designed the project? WHO specifically sat down at the drafting table with their pencil and paper and drafting tools, etc. for months and actually DID the design?”

    But of course no one will. Nor will any tough or important questions be asked tonight.

    It will be nothing more than a dog and pony show.

    That’s the whole idea of bringing on someone like “the knight” in from across the ocean. No one would dare ask. No one would dare criticize the design. Not even if the design appears to be a version of “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” And no one would dare not sign the check for 30 million bucks in taxpayer money.

    A chess game wouldn’t be complete without some knights. And tonight’s performance will deliver an important part of the MLK Park chess board to the winners. The future of the rest of the park will be played out in the coming months and years.

    Let’s hope that Winter Park residents can find some candidates to run for City Commission who understand the game that’s being played – and the concept in chess of anticipating 2, 3, 4, and 5 moves in advance. If not, we may soon find ourselves “park less” as more cunning and ruthless players on the dais one day announce “Checkmate!”

  2. Remembering King Tut says:

    After tonight’s underwhelming performance at the Civic Center, the new library presentation left some of us confused.

    Is this Winter Park or Egypt Park?

    The “grand unveiling” of the “new design” for the Library was none other than what looked like three upside down ancient Egyptian pyramids. That’s what it looks like – three upside down pyramids with the pointy pyramid tops buried in the ground, so all you can see are the pyramid bottoms sticking up. Throw in a few super-sized arch windows that are slanted inward along with the upside down pyramid walls – and walla – you got a $30 million debt!

    If the design wasn’t inspired by the three pyramids in Egypt (see link below) it might have been inspired by the upside down WonderWorks building tourist attraction on International Drive!

    Is this a great city or what?

    And no parking garage in the design because – get this – Winter Park’s new upside down pyramids Library/Event Center/Drop and Drive will cost $30 million on its own! That blew the entire budget so there’s no more bond money for the parking garage that was part of the deal voters approved. But politicians call the design’s parking lot a “parking structure” (the exact wording in the bond referendum). So if you voted for the library and didn’t realize you would have to walk a long, long way to get to the place you are paying $30 million for, you obviously are not a connoisseur of ballot legalese fine print and political double speak.

    But who needs a parking garage anyway when people in ancient Egypt rode camels?

    Were it not for the smooth talking guy from England, the designer – you know, the only one in the room tonight who will probably never actually use the new Winter Park Library – I would not have liked the design at all.

  3. No Thanks says:

    According to a newspaper article today, the design work will cost Winter Park taxpayers $2.4 million, and the entire project $30 million.

    “The events center becomes this extraordinary space. … It feels like somebody has found the perfect position and placed a beautiful tent,” Adjaye said according to the article.

    A tent?

    $30 million for a tent?

    For a tent?

    I suppose it’s fitting though. Every circus has a tent. And this whole library show has been nothing more than one circus act after another.

    It’s time for Winter Park residents to stand up and say, “No thanks,” when the design is brought forward for a vote at the November 13 City Commission meeting.

    Say “No thanks” to a library that people in Sanford can get to quicker in traffic than Winter Park High School students can.

    Say “No thanks” to a library that Winter Park will pay for, but will be used more by people from Orlando, Eatonville, Maitland, Altamonte Springs, Longwood, Lake Mary, and Sanford than from Winter Park.

    Say “No thanks” to a foreign inspired, foreign conceived design, that despite lip service to Winter Park’s history and culture, couldn’t be further from it.

    Say “No thanks” to a design that has incorporated absolutely nothing of what residents asked for in numerous public comments.

    And say “No thanks” to a City Commission, who put the library bond on the ballot without ever telling the voters on that ballot their intention to pave over MLK Park with it. A City Commission who refused a petition of over 2,000 Winter Park residents who asked that the 34,000 sq. ft. facility not be built on sensitive MLK Park land. A City Commission who has at every turn attempted to thwart the will of the residents regarding their library. A City Commission who remains stubbornly and defiantly committed to the project, despite less than 50% of the Winter Park voters on Election Day having approved the bond. That’s right. Of all the Winter Park residents who voted on Election Day, MORE THAN HALF either voted “No” or did not vote (skipped over) the bond question.

  4. Beth Hall says:

    Sir David’s manner was extremely engaging. Clearly, he and his firm had done their homework as to the history and topography of WP as well as to the desires of residents. The power point slides about Winter Park and her history hit all the right notes.

    The winning aspects of the design were many: the column- less design, the inspired roof line (providing both shade and rain protection), the expansive glass windows which function to bring the outside in while fostering line of sight contact among users of all spaces, as well as the thoughtful consideration of the prevailing winds in placing the structures.

    To be honest, what the design brought to my mind was “parachutes” rather than arches, sun porches, verandahs, or any other relevant WP architecture. I suspect that this was due to the elongation of each “arch”, making them more shallow. Much will hinge on the ultimate colors and finishes chosen, as well as landscaping choices.

    Leary gave assurances that if the project does not meet city codes, it will not be built. Practical concerns about parking and budget loomed. The envisioned, low profile parking structure did not materialize. “Shared parking” reliance and optional budgetary “add-ons” crept in. The $30 million max budget said to possess plenty of cushion won’t achieve some desires such as a roof top café. Maybe naming rights and private donations can address these.

    I was surprised to the upside by Adjaye. If feasible I’d like to see the project advance to the next phase.

  5. cj williams says:

    Opportunity Lost by CJ Williams

    First, the good news: Do no harm. Height, scale, roof lines for these 2 major buildings are pleasing. Three-quarter views all-round a welcome perspective. The highest building is controlled at under 34 feet, only two-story, and with a hat-trick borrowed from David Copperfield—poof—no parking garage (yeah!) Building materials, finishes, patinas: TBD.

    Considerations: Why does the design turns its back on the Park?

    I fail to see how the design responds to the lake and the park at its front door.
    It looks like two rectangular and square building blocks air-dropped from a drone into the corner of the park. (Actually this design could work better at the present Library site on Fairbanks).

    Why not a curvilinear design in a half-crescent setting that hugs the perimeter of the park on Harper/Morse, and frees up more space to interact with the park and the outdoors (with shade) on the inside of the half-loop? Why not use the extra space to bring boardwalks (introducing our WP “Low-Line,” shaped after NYC High Line ( from the parking lot and adjacencies into the footprint?

    Instead the park side is met with vertical hard edges, large panes of glass and a shapeless plaza. As a solution 220 miles to the south, I think of the Perez Museum “front porch” in Miami: grab a book, grab a coffee, grab a chair, relax under a shaded canopy. Take a nap! Perhaps the landscape design team can save the day?

    Return on investment? Not $1 million, not $1.5 million, but a fee of $1.7 million to lead architect Adjaye, and an additional $.7 million to HBPM as production architects for a total of $2.4 million in design.

    For these reasons, overall grade: B-/C

  6. Link to Presentation says:

    Here’s the video of the presentation for anyone who didn’t catch it in person or live on TV or the internet last night:

    The question I would have asked last night (good thing I wasn’t there) was “Where did you attend charm school?” You know that’s a real advantage in business. Think about it. If anyone else had presented the same design, how well would it have been received? Difference is Winter Park will have to live with the design, whatever it is in its final form, long after “Sir Charm” is back in jolly old England working on his next sales pitch.

    Remember when you watch it, you’re buying the DESIGN, not the DESIGNER. Think about if that’s the kind of DESIGN you really want for your library, or not. And November 13th is your last chance to comment, criticize, or complain to your Commissioners. After that, the cat’s out the door.

  7. Peter K. Gottfried says:

    To Mayor and Commissioners, City of Winter Park:
    Folks – before you get too tied up in trying to back track on the “parking structure” for the library and event center – you might want to consider the definition of what a “parking structure” is. Here is the definition:

    “A building for short-term storage of motor vehicles, having two or more tiers or levels and at least two open sides, and with the top tier either roofed or not.”

    As you know the bond referendum language specifically stated that the funds would be used for the library, event center and “parking structure”. Because your wonderful architect has proposed a facility that cannot fund a “parking structure,” you would violate the specific intent of the bond referendum. Calling a surface parking lot a “parking structure” is comical at best.

    “For the purpose of building the Winter Park Library and Events Center, to include library facilities, civic meeting and gathering facilities and related parking structure, and improvements, and all purposes incidental thereto, shall the City of Winter Park, Florida, issue not exceeding $30,000,000 general obligation bonds, bearing interest at not exceeding the maximum legal rate, maturing within 20 years from date of issuance, payable from ad valorem taxes levied on all taxable property in the City area, without limitation as to rate or amount; as provided in Ordinance No. 3020-15.”

    And considering the fact that you turned down the parking variance for the Battaglia project, I would caution you not to grant yourselves a parking variance because of not building the “parking structure.”

    Peter K. Gottfried, CEP, GISP

  8. Slanted News says:

    Slanted windows may get some “oohs” and “ah’s” at expensive design unveilings, but the reason they are not more in use is because they make no sense, except perhaps in air traffic control towers, where the controllers have to constantly keep an eye on every part of the runways.

    Here’s an actual photo of slanted windows like the type being proposed for the new Winter Park library. They are at a restaurant in Los Angeles. Aren’t you impressed? Didn’t think so.


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