The meaning of a Municipal Building

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By The Staff

Dear Editor,

The issue of the Municipal Building must be taken in the over-all context of Los Alamos itself. Three points:

• A Municipal Building is a public building which is part and parcel, and generally the heart of, the public legacy and heritage that, combined, comprise the public trust. As such, it is the most significant building in any community; the identifying, and unifying, symbol of the identity of the town as an entity separate and apart from, and transcending the transitory nature of the passing socio-economic interests of, any given population or industry of the moment. It is, and should be, a statement of the history made and the history yet to unfold of the town itself.

• A Municipal Building is not a commercial venture, nor does it exist, solely, principally, or even in part, for the benefit of business. Any commercial benefit accrued is merely collaterally incidental, and not to the purpose of the existence or identity of the town which the building symbolizes.

• Thus any directing mandate for considering the siting/construction of a Municipal Building should be based solely on the distinctive character and identity of Los Alamos, its public legacy and heritage, absent of, and separate from, its economic circumstances, and should decidedly not include, reference, nor rely on, either the Downtown Master Plan, the previous Muni Site Master Plan, nor, indeed, any consideration of a supposed commercial synergy.

Such was the Municipal Building we had; such should our Municipal Building remain.

Richard Hanneman

Los Alamos