News surrounding Marcel Breuer-designed buildings across the country continues to hold surprises, including Atlanta’s Central Library Building. Last week, as Docomomo US awarded the restoration of The Met Breuer with a Citation of Merit in the 2016 Modernism in America Awards, Atlanta’s City Councilman C.T. Martin brought forth an unexpected resolution approving
the demolition "a new library be built at its present location" for the Central Library. This stunning development quickly mobilized advocates for the Library including Friends of the Central Atlanta Library (FOCAL), Docomomo US/Georgia and Docomomo US who draft letters of response. Advocates also launched a petition calling for the “Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System Board of Trustees to take action to protect the Central Library and Library System Headquarters Building.”
In a surprising turn of events, a letter from Councilman Martin was sent to the Fulton County Government Board of Commission just two days later expressing it was “never the intent of the Atlanta City Council to recommend the demolition of the Central Library’s iconic edifice.” The letter further outlined his intent to introduce a new resolution to rescind the previous resolution and reaffirm the Council’s commitment to the building and library services that are remaining Downtown.
Image above: American Press Institute by Marcel Breuer Photo: Deane Madsen, Instagram
This request for an Atlanta Central Library "do over" of sorts does not appear to be a new or unique political mechanism as the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is now denying a rezoning application that would demolish Breuer's API Building in Virginia. Whether these two cases, or three if you include Award recognition for The Met Breuer, have reflected on one another remains to be seen. It does however highlight the lack of context and understanding for modern and Brutalist buildings. Docomomo US with our colleagues at Docomomo US/GA will continue to monitor these stories.
Docomomo US Letter to the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System Board of Trustees - PDF
Docomomo US/GA Press Release - PDF
Councilman C.T. Martin Clarification Statement - PDF
June 17, 2016 Reston Now After ‘Major Screw Up,’ Planning Commission Recommends Denial of API Building Rezoning
June 22, 2016 Fresh Loaf Atlanta City Council, whether it knows it or not, essentially supported demolition of Downtown's Central Library on Monday
June 22, 2016 Fresh Loaf Council wants a do-over on library demolition resolution
June 23, 2016 Curbed Atlanta: No One Wants to Demolish Breuer’s Central Library, Allegedly
June 23, 2016 WABE Atlanta City Council Backtracks On Building New Central Library