Community Library to Be High Tech, Sustainable

March 1, 2008

PASADENA, CA - After nearly 10 years of consultations with community members to fund and plan the 28,000-square-foot central library in Monrovia, CA, construction is scheduled to begin next month.  The facility will be set in Library Park, which has served as the iconic center of the small city's downtown since the original ivy-covered Carnegie Library was built there in the early 1900s.

The low-slung library, as richly and integrally landscaped as the original, lays in a transverse line across the block-long park, with a central skylit circulation hall flanked, respectively, by a children's wing and an adult wing.  The design literally embraces Library Park's greatest treasures - two nearly century-old trees that preside over the landscape.  Tiered with planters, trellises, and spreading low roof forms, the new library will be very much a piece of the park-scape.

The citizens of Monrovia passed a $16 million bond to build the new library. 

Courtesy Robert Gonzales

"The money raised by the levy reflects the pride in this community of having its library in the heart of downtown," says David Goodale, AIA.  "So, it's fitting that the new library will have a large community meeting room that can be used for public events and gatherings whether the library proper is open or closed."

The library, when complete, will also include a public computer and technology area, a literacy center, and an audio-visual center.  A regionally renowned children's program will now have generous computer areas, story nooks, and a performance area that will hold 125 children. 

"One of the design objectives was to provide dedicated spaces that each of elementary school children, middle-schoolers, and teens could, separately, symbolically call their own," notes Goodale.

The architecture, finishes, and furniture will be rich in wood finishes and will feature intense linear pattern-work derived from the surrounding landscape in a contemporary design strategy that finds roots in Craftsman traditions.  Environmentally conscious features of the new library that will support a LEED rating include the use of highly renewable flooring materials including natural cork and recyclable carpet.  Extensive daylighting of the interior footprint will be enhanced by a long central clerestory that will run the full length of the library.

Completion of the new library will be spring 2009.

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