A proposed public library project with a significant art collection in an historic picturesque river town setting.


IDEA was commissioned to examine expansion or relocation of the public library in Oregon, Illinois, currently housed in a classic 1909 Carnegie-funded building in the historic Rock River town. The library building has not been substantially altered since its construction, and does not conform to accessibility requirements, new technology, or growing collections and the electrical, data, lighting, and heating systems are outdated and inefficient. The Library Board determined that a new building on a new site would be necessary, with care given to assisting in finding a suitable new use for the original library structure. IDEA provided site selection and preliminary design services for multiple sites under consideration, including a riverfront site illustrated here. The project was not executed due to unavailability of project funding.

A key component of the library program was the stipulation that a museum-quality gallery was to be provided to feature the library’s outstanding art collection, centered around significant holdings from the nearby Eagle’s Nest Art Colony , a group of artists from the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Chicago which had established a retreat in Oregon on bluffs near the Rock River. Allen and Irving Pond, two Chicago architects and former Eagle’s Nest members, designed the Carnegie-funded library building and members showed their work in the second floor gallery, later donating key pieces to the library collection.