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I am pleased to see that the NCAR Mesa Lab fountain will be removed, as announced in the President's Council Summary Notes from November 16.
The fountain's high profile blocks what once was a stunning view to the south, seen as you approach the main entrance from the north. As originally designed, that view was wonderfully framed by the open passageway there. It was the intent of I.M. Pei to highlight that view; he mentioned this in a public symposium with Walter Orr Roberts in the 1980s.
The notes suggest that the expanses of concrete in the area may be replaced with pavers. Would it be appropriate to put the entire ML fountain area to pavers? That would seem to be cost effective and would restore the southern view to its original beauty. This solution (pavers properly laid and sealed) might also correct the chronic water leaks associated with the fountain.
The UCAR Architectural Control Committee is listed on the UCAR website's Inside UCAR - Committees & Assemblies page. No link to the ACC is provided there. Does the ACC have a charter and an e-mail address? Will it consider staff input on architectural matters? What are the qualifications for sitting on this committee? Could the ACC issue updates in Today@UCAR on important decisions?
Pei is quoted as saying, "You just cannot compete with the scale of the Rockies." It seems that architectural decisions such as the fountain bunker and the PAM station to the west of the ML cafeteria do so compete, and in a very negative way.
Thank you for considering these questions.
Answered on December 18, 2009
The plans being developed for the Mesa Lab Fountain Plaza will include replacing most of the top layer of concrete on the plaza with pavers. The paver layer will actually be permeable to allow any surface water to reach the drainage layer of the plaza surface that is below the top layer. The paver layer, while replacing the damaged concrete on the plaza, will also provide the maintenance department with a more cost-effective solution for correcting any future damage to the plaza surface that may be caused by ice melt chemicals used in this high-traffic area.
The Architectural Control Committee is no longer active; architectural decisions are made by the President's Council with outside input. You are welcome to share any specific thoughts you have with Katy Schmoll.
Director, Physical Plant Services
Vice President for Finance and Administration