Home > Building design, Building process > Meet the Architect: Trevor M. Harrison, AIA, of HBT

Meet the Architect: Trevor M. Harrison, AIA, of HBT

Library Director Laurie Guenther, Harrison and Town Supervisor John Moffitt visit the site.

Q. How did HBT get interested in working on the Mendon Library Project?

We heard about the project when the original bond vote was held in 2008, but we thought that the Town probably already had an architect that they were working with.  Just to make sure, I called then Town Supervisor Ian McNabb and set up a meeting to introduce our firm to him.  After that meeting, I knew this was a project that we really wanted to be involved in.  It was clear that it meant a lot to the Town and we love projects that bring people together and move communities forward.

Q. What was the process you went through to actually be selected to design the new library?

We first submitted a written proposal and we spent a lot of time on this.  The more I got to know about the project, the more focused we got on actually being selected as the design firm. A few firms were shortlisted and we had an interview with the building committee. I remember one specific question asked near the end of the interview was “Why do you want this project so badly?” I knew then that all our work and passion clearly showed in our proposal and our presentation. When the committee was going to present its recommendation, I came to the Town Board meeting in January 2009 because, even if we did not get selected, I was not going to wait one more day to find out.

Q. What is your experience in designing libraries/public buildings of this kind?

Prior to working with Mendon Public Library, we had been working with Wood Library in Canandaigua since 2006 on the design of a renovation and addition.  We also designed the new Gates Library, which is also currently under construction.

Q. What were some key goals you had in mind when you designed this library?

We had four goals for the project from even before we were selected as the design team.  The first goal was for this project to be something that the Mendon community helped design. After that, we wanted to save the existing library and incorporate it into an expansion rather than just build new. The third goal was to design an addition that was sensitive to the context of both the Town and the Village, but was still a product of our time and what we can do as builders in 2010. The last goal was to provide a great design that was financially responsible to the taxpayers. We love to show people that good design is about more than spending a lot of money and that just because something is designed well does not mean that it is too expensive.

Q: What are some of your favorite aspects of the new Mendon Library building?

I like the overall scale of the building and how the smaller pieces add up to a larger building without being imposing. I also like the reading room on the Main Street elevation. I really think this is going to be a beautiful building at dusk, when a passerby not only can see the building exterior but also see activity inside.

Q. What are some specific elements of the new design that will serve residents of Mendon well?

First, we worked as a group with the Town and Library to select finishes and building systems that minimize maintenance and operational costs and make sure the  new library is not a burden. Perhaps more exciting, I think the children and young adult areas that are to be completed in phase 2 are going to have tremendous impact. Of course, in order to see this happen, everyone needs to help the capital campaign.

Q. What didn’t we ask you that we should?

I am a father of two girls who attend Pittsford Mendon High School, husband to Yvonne and an avid cyclist who probably spends too much time racing his bike. I think that in relation to the project, it’s important to remember that this was accomplished by my entire staff, not me. Specifically, Kelly Jahn and Rebecca Barone are the architects who designed the building and Scott Hemenway is the architect who managed the whole effort and is still managing the project through construction. These people listened to your needs and applied their passion and their talents to make it happen.

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