Eyesore of the week

By Daniel Bollman, AIA

Property: Carnegie Library/LCC University Center, 210 W. Shiawassee St., Lansing

Owner: Lansing Community College

Apart from the awkwardly heavy parapet that encircles the roof, this building exhibits elegant details rendered in brick and stone. Deeply set double hung windows rest on bracketed limestone sills. The classical portico, with heavy Doric columns, maintains a powerful presence on a street lined with automobile parking and modern architecture. However, relatively recent modifications to this century-old building detract from its classical beauty.

Designed by architect Edwin A. Bowd, the cornerstone for the library building was laid in 1903. The library was paid for in part by Andrew Carnegie in his effort to fund the construction of local libraries throughout the United States. The building served as Lansing’s main library until the current library was built in 1964.

Incorporation of the Carnegie Library into Lansing Community College’s University Center complex changed the character of the former main entrance. The front door was converted to a window, rendering the grand entrance stairs obsolete.

Worse, the stairs are isolated behind a screen of tall grasses. Granted, incorporating the old building into the new center likely precluded the reuse of the entrance. However, the stairs might have been left accessible. As they are south-facing, the stairs provide a quiet-backed, sunny place to sit and study in warmer months.

“Eyesore of the Week” is our look at some of the seedier properties in Lansing. It rotates each week with Eye Candy of the Week. If you have a suggestion, please e-mail eye@lansingcitypulse.com or call Andy Balaskovitz at 999-5064.