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nation reportedly comprised a third of Seth Low's fortune. News media praised the donation profusely, and the donation was reported on the front pages of the city's newspapers for several days. McKim thanked president Low for the donation, saying "that if, when the Library building shall be completed, your confidence in our firm prove to not have been misplaced, I shall regard [the library] one of the greatest happinesses of my life." Construction A modern view of the rotunda, showing the interior pillars made of polished green Vermont granite and crowned with Greek Ionic capitals of gilt bronze Seth Low requested that McKim draw designs for a library with a facade of marble, limestone, or brick and limestone. The initial plans had called for using a marble facade, but Low had been hesitant to use such an expensive material, instead preferring to use brick for the library, and McKim had wanted to use a material with a "monumental chara cter", namely limestone. Construction had started by June 18, 1895. The initial work included excavating the library's foundation. Seth Low had wished to hold a cornerstone-laying ceremony in late 1895, but he postponed these plans after the opening of New York University's library that October, since he did not want to hold a similar event in such close succession. The Low Library's cornerstone was informally laid on December 7, 1895. When the walls of the library were being constructed, McKim had planned to create the library's dome out of concrete, carried on iron trusses with limestone cladding. Columbia's architecture departmental head William Robert Ware argued that such a design would not be "a real dome". McKim then proposed a Guastavino tile dome, to which Ware agreed. The Norcross Brothers then proposed an unreinforced concrete dome that they had planned themselves, and McKim submitted plans to the New York City Department of Buildings (D OB). The DOB delayed issuing the permit until November 1895, likely in part because of the uncertainties over the new design. By then, the architects feared that the cold weather would weaken the concrete, forcing the dome to be delayed until possibly the spring. Consequently, the dome was made of brick, with metal lath and plaster on the inner surface and limest