Rundel Library Terrace Structural Improvements Phase IV Project

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  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. 

Download site location map  

About the Project 

N. Terrace Closed The project is the fourth phase in a multi-year effort to evaluate and repair the structural condition of the library and terraces. The present project focuses 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 is now closed to the public pending repair.

The first phase of the project will reconstruct the elevated north terrace, structural concrete and steel framing, slabs, columns and foundations. It will create a more vibrant public space that celebrates the Rundel Library and the history of the Erie Canal aqueduct. The renovated north riverfront terrace will potentially include river viewing platforms, ADA accessible ramps, pavement bands and features (interpretive of the historical canal and subway rails below), public artwork, lighting upgrades, seating and space for public gathering and use.


North Terrace

 N. 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 have developed concepts for the north terrace that draws 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

 E. Sidewalk The next phase of the project will reconstruct the elevated east sidewalk along South Avenue, including structural repairs, and/or infill of the areaway 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.

Project Documents 

Click to download (pdf format)

Estimated Project Timeline (updated 12/17/2019)

  • Consultant Procurement: fall/winter 2016-17
  • Project Advisory committee Meeting: March 23, 2017
  • Structural Inspection & Assessment: summer 2017
  • Concept Design and Terrace Master Plan: summer/fall 2017
  • Rochester Public Library Board Meeting: February 26, 2018
  • Public Information Meetings: May 9, 2018 & September 24, 2019
  • Final Design Plans and Specifications: fall 2019
  • Bid & Award Phase: fall/winter 2019-20
  • Construction Phase: spring 2020 – fall 2021
  • Secure Funding for east sidewalk: summer 2020
  • construction Phase (east sidewalk): T.B.D.

Schedule is subject to adjustment


If you have questions and comments about the project, please contact Jason VanDemark in the City’s Bureau of Architecture and Engineering at 428-7356, or by email.