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Clarksburg-Harrison Public Library

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1975, Marcel Breuer. W. Pike St., immediately west of Waldomore

After forty years of service as Clarksburg's public library, Waldomore became inadequate to house the growing collections. The formal mansion, set back from the street, also was perceived to have an air of exclusivity that prevented the public from being drawn to it. Marcel Breuer addressed these concerns by designing a library next door that abuts the sidewalk and has an inviting recessed entry that is almost all window wall. Stacks are visible to passersby and potential patrons, and a large glazed area on the second floor provides light and conveys a sense of welcome. Lest the building seem too open, a huge mass of visually unsupported brick is suspended on the east corner of the facade at the second-floor level. The library recalls Breuer's Whitney Museum of American Art (1966) in New York, but in a smaller, quieter, gentler way, in part because it is faced with brick rather than roughcast concrete. Breuer (1902–1981) was associated with Walter Gropius at the Bauhaus in Germany but became internationally known as the master of Brutalism during his later American career. He gave Clarksburg a relatively light touch of his usually heavy hand.

Writing Credits

Author: 
S. Allen Chambers Jr.
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Citation

S. Allen Chambers Jr., "Clarksburg-Harrison Public Library", [Clarksburg, West Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/WV-01-HR4.

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