City of Rochester Rundel Memorial Library North Terrace Improvement

Historic Rochester Library Terrace Renovation

Constructed in 1937, the original north terrace of the Rundel Memorial Library was selected for renovation as part of the City of Rochester’s ROC the Riverway program, a collection of more than two dozen transformational projects along the Genesee River focused on enabling the City to better leverage and celebrate the value of its riverfront.

The Rundel Memorial Library is a nationally registered historic building overlooking the Genesee River and constructed over the Johnson and Seymour Raceway and the old Erie Canal bed, later repurposed as a subway tunnel. The library’s elevated north terrace, located at the corner of East Broad Street and South Avenue, exhibited severe structural deterioration due to its advanced age and was closed to the public in 2017 pending repairs. The north terrace improvements are part of a multi-year development project to overhaul the structure of the library building and terraces.

This project involved reconstructing the terrace, structural beams, slabs, columns, and foundations to restore and modernize the public space and extend the life of the historic library. The existing steel framing and a multi-layer concrete deck were removed and replaced with new foundations and concrete framing that extends 25 feet below the surface to bedrock. The structural concrete slab was topped by layers of waterproofing, a drainage mat, geofoam, a crushed stone sub-base, and a concrete wearing surface.

This project also included four public art installations that the City and the Rochester Public Library commissioned from Colorado-based Chevo Studios. The artwork honors the City’s legacy of waterpower, manufacturing, transportation, and innovation inspired by the Genesee River, the Erie Canal, and the industry that built Rochester.

Interpretive features in the terrace surface represent the old Canal bed and the paths of the former subway tunnel that rests beneath the terrace. Additional amenities include an outdoor riverfront amphitheater, an overlook of the Genesee River, outdoor seating and landscaping, a gateway sculpture installation, a lighted serpentine runnel that mimics the Genesee River, and an interactive water feature.

This $9.8 million project transformed the terrace into a vibrant public space that celebrates the history of the Rundel Library and the Erie Canal. Furthermore, the project provides enhanced outdoor public space for gathering and library programming and improves visibility and public access to the City’s riverfront area.

An Award-Winning Project

Rundel Memorial Library North Terrace Improvement Project Wins Statewide APWA NY Chapter Public Works Project of the Year Award

In March 2023, LaBella was honored to have our Rundel Memorial Library North Terrace Improvement Project win a statewide Public Works Project of the Year Award in the Structures ($5 to $25 Million) category from the APWA New York Chapter.

The American Public Works Association’s Public Works Project of the Year Award was established to promote excellence in the management, administration, and implementation of public works projects by recognizing the alliance between the managing agency, the consultant/architect/engineer, and the contractor who work together to complete public works projects.

Rundel Memorial Library North Terrace Improvement Project Receives the 2022 Reshaping Rochester Award for Design

In November 2022, the Community Design Center of Rochester awarded LaBella Associates and the City of Rochester with the Reshaping Rochester Award for Design in the Large Project Category!

The Award for Design, which is nominated by the public, recognizes an exemplary project that positively impacts people, neighborhoods, and the community, and contributes to and enriches the public realm.



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Rundel Memorial Library North Terrace Reopening and Ribbon Cutting

In August 2022, the City of Rochester celebrated the reopening of the Rundel Memorial Library North Terrace, which overlooks the Genesee River at the corner of Broad Street and South Avenue.

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