by David McClung
The architect’s rendering of Ward 2 Councillor Fred Morison’s vision for the new Cayuga Public Library he wants Haldimand County to build at the corner of Talbot and Cayuga Streets is not at first glance very impressive.
The problem is not that the building is inherently uglier than most of the rest of what architects come up with these days. Rather, the problem is that Morison has forgotten that he is building on one of the most visually prominent street corners in a long-established, even historic village. The onus is on him to fit in.
But does he? Looking at the streets around that corner, what are the common features of the existing buildings? Red brick walls with white or brown trim, two storeys with a flat roof hidden behind a decorative cornice, and a number of similar-sized windows arranged in a rhythmic pattern.
So what are the features of Morison’s design? Grey brick, grey siding, and an extremely prominent sloping grey roof that appears designed to dump prodigious amounts of snow either on the public sidewalk or into a sheepfold-like thing on the north slope where it will likely compact into ice, block mechanical systems and eventually leak through the ceiling.
Finally there is the extensive collection of bizarrely shaped and sized windows … anything from car showroom size right down to outhouse vents, with two diagonally sloped ones near the front door for good measure … all scattered willy-nilly over the walls of the building.
Morison’s vision might look fine in a new development (although I would still be concerned about the snow on that roof), but it is not compatible with downtown Cayuga. It seems an awful shame to write off the public money Morison has spent on architectural services, but won’t we be compounding the loss if we build an eyesore in the middle of town and force our descendants to spend their whole lives looking at it?
It’s time to pull the plug on this project and start over on the Market Square, where most people want it, and where Morison said he would put it when he was last running for election.