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Rundel Library Terrace Structural Improvements Phase IV Project

RTR Ph 2 page header
N. Terrace - E. Sidewalk

The Rundel Library is a nationally registered historic building surrounded by terraces on all sides of the building. The library and terraces are bounded by Broad Street, South Avenue and Court Street, directly adjacent to the Genesee River in the City’s Central Business District. The library and terraces were constructed in the 1930s over the Johnson & Seymour Raceway (1817) and the old Erie Canal bed (built during canal construction c. 1821, later repurposed for the Rochester Subway) and supported by a steel and concrete framing system. 

About the Project 

The project was the fourth phase in a multi-year effort to evaluate and repair the structural condition of the library and terraces. The project focused on the north terrace and east sidewalk. Due to the advanced age and exposure to the elements, the north riverfront terrace and east sidewalk were evaluated and found to exhibit severe structural deterioration. The north terrace area was closed to the public in Fall 2017 pending repairs.

The project reconstructed the elevated north terrace, structural concrete beams, slabs, columns and foundations. It created a more vibrant public space that celebrates the history of the Rundel Library and the Erie Canal aqueduct, improve visibility and public access to the riverfront and provide enhanced outdoor public space for gathering and library programming. Amenities included an ADA accessible river theater and tiered seating overlooking the Genesee River, pavement bands and features (interpretive of the historical canal and subway rails below), planters and seating, terrace lighting, and a public art installation.

Rundel Library North Terrace - Night View

North Terrace

LaBella Associates with Bayer Landscape Architecture and Bero Architecture were selected through the City’s Request for Proposal (RFP) process to provide engineering, planning and landscape architectural services for the project. Working with a project advisory committee, they developed concepts for the north terrace that drew from the history of the site (raceway, aqueduct, Erie Canal, subway), its connection to the river, and the civic, intellectual and architectural significance of the Rundel Library.

East Sidewalk

The project will also reconstructed the elevated east sidewalk along South Avenue, including reconstruction of elevated sidewalk sections, and/or infill of areaways underneath, replacement of the existing bus shelter and updated amenities.

Public Art

The project includes a public art installation within the north terrace. A Request for Qualifications/Call for Artists was released in April 2018, with 63 submissions received from national (and a few international) artists and teams. This RFQ process was used to narrow an artist field based on a set of criteria, including past/current commissions of similar scope and scale to the Rundel North Terrace project, with at least one exterior commission with a budget of $200,000 or greater. 

A public art selection committee including members of the arts community, Center City neighborhood, Library and City representatives reviewed all initial applications and selected four finalists to submit concepts specific to the site/project. Finalists were given five weeks to prepare concepts and attend an interview with the selection committee as part of the proposal evaluation process. 

Chevo Studios from Commerce City, Colorado was selected and approved as the site artist by the Rochester Public Library Board of Trustees in August 2018. Chevo Studios worked with the project design team for the installation to be coordinated with appropriate City planning and permitting agencies, as well as inclusion of any structural or utility requirements for the artwork as part of the final design process. The Library held several public input sessions for the art installation to inform the final design.

Rundel Library North Terrace

Project Documents 

Click to download (pdf format)

Project Timeline

  • Consultant Procurement: fall/winter 2016-17
  • Structural Inspection & Assessment: spring/summer 2017
  • Project Advisory Committee Meeting #1: March 23, 2017
  • Conceptual Design and Terrace Master Plan: summer/fall 2017
  • Rochester Public Library Board Meeting #1: February 26, 2018
  • SHPO Approval:  April 2018
  • Public Information Meetings #1 and #2: May 9, 2018 & September 24, 2019
  • City Preservation Board Review and Approvals: August 6, 2018 and January 2, 2019
  • Final Design and Construction Documents: spring - fall 2019
  • Bid & Award of Construction Contracts: fall/winter 2019-20
  • Construction Phase: Construction completed 2022