Santa Monica Public Library
This new main Library reflects the character of Santa Monica as a place and as a community, supporting a well-informed public in the comfort of the benign coastal climate of southern California. Seeking to enhance community awareness and encourage public use, the design presents a building of approachable scale and civic proportions, opening in all directions to access, daylight, and views into and out of the building.
Designed through a series of community meetings, the 110,000 square foot library responds to Santa Monica’s breezy-but-enlightened culture by incorporating large, sun-shaded windows, colorful pocket gardens, and a broad spectrum of sustainability features—ultimately winning the project LEED™ Gold certification. One of the many sustainability measures is the use of an inverted “impluvium” roof and underground cistern to collect rainwater for landscape maintenance.
At the center of the whole is a large enclosed garden court containing a small café with wireless connectivity. The north court and central garden/café combine with a 200-seat auditorium and multi-purpose rooms to offer a dynamic venue for public use. In addition, a small museum and flexible spaces can alternately accommodate exhibitions and informal presentations. The building serves as an urban oasis at the center of fast-paced residential and commercial redevelopment, earning its title as the “Living Room of the City.”
Photography: John Edward Linden, Jim Simmons, Del Zoppo/Simmons Photography