HMRC reopened to the public on Monday, April 5, 2010. Customers will be able to access HMRC resources Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 10am to 6pm, Wednesday from 10am to 8pm, and Saturday from 10am to 5pm. Resources available include the collections and archives at the Texas and Local History Room. HMRC is located in the historic Julia Ideson Building at 500 McKinney, 77002, with the entrance of the new wing located through the garden on the Lamar and Smith sides of the building.
The design of the new 21,500 square-foot state-of-the-art archival wing harmonizes with the Spanish Plateresque architecture, with its matching masonry, a clay tile parapet, arched windows, and sculptural decoration. The construction includes an extremely energy-efficient and weather-resistant exterior envelope to protect the archival collections.
HMRC closed to public access at the end of 2009 while it moved its collections to the recently-completed new wing of the Julia Ideson Building. The collections are now in the new wing which includes a spacious research/reference room on the first floor and three floors of high-density shelving for the valuable holdings of the HMRC. The wing is complemented by a new south loggia and adjacent palm-shaded public garden, also called the outdoor reading room. The two-story loggia, like the wing, was a part of the original plan for the 1926 building but never constructed. It provides open-air seating on both levels and a gracious transition from the first floor of the original building to the outdoor reading room.
Currently, the new wing is the only portion of the building open to the public while the renovation is completed. The building is now undergoing hazardous materials abatement and selective demolition of non-historic elements to prepare for new mechanical and electrical infrastructure, new elevators, and restoration of the historical interior materials. The renovation will take about a year, after which the Houston Public Library will spend several months moving the architectural archives and other selected collections into the restored building and preparing to reopen in early Summer 2011.