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June 1, 2004

Opinion: Library a victory for style over substance


Yes, the new central library is a stunning architectural achievement. Rem Koolhaas is undoubtedly a visionary genius. But beyond the "wow'' factor will the library provide lasting value and meet the needs of patrons?

I have my doubts. Koolhaas's vision apparently didn't include providing adequate ways to get down. High-tech escalators whisk people up through the massive structure, but getting down requires serious effort. There is no down escalator and the only stairs are in an emergency exit that has been open during the first week.

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