Arroyo Seco Regional Branch Library




Highland Park Heritage Trust, 2004 Award of Merit



Arroyo Seco Regional Branch Library
Highland Park, California

The project design reflects the community of Highland Park and the Highland Park Heritage Trust’s great pride in its wealth of historic turn of the century Mission and Craftsman style civic and residential structures. The site is located on a triangular portion of the park at the intersection of Figueroa Street and Piedmont Avenue and the 14,000 sq. ft. facility replaces the 10,200 sq. ft. library built in 1960. The project includes a large wall mural painted by the artist, Luis Becerra, which was relocated from the original building to a prominent location directly opposite the rear entrance.

The new facility continues this tradition by utilizing indigenous arroyo stone and brick materials and traditional building forms, volumes and details. At the triangular corner, a thirty-five foot high stone tower announces the library location and frames the low entry vestibule. From this low entry, a simple and traditional, large open reading room with heavy timber wood trusses is sited along the street wall on Figueroa Street. Along this street a long massive stone “garden” wall punctuated by a variety of window openings and bay windows reflects the craftsman tradition represented by stone buildings and separates the busy street from the quiet of the inside functions.

Inside, the adult, reference and teen reading room is organized around a central axis, which terminates in a large bay overlooking the adjacent park. A variety of various bays, alcoves and mezzanine reading rooms provide outside vistas and intimate seating areas for the patrons. Small book alcoves along the outside walls interrupted by chance views, give an immediacy to the book collection while orienting the people back to the surrounding outer world. New computer tables share the central space with traditional reading tables.

The separate children's reading room features a skylight filtering down and a private storytelling area set in a large bay element which overlook a landscaped garden area of the park.

Facing the corner and reminiscent of the original Carnegie library is a large circular trellis structure, dark brick wainscot, and decorative iron balcony leading to the public meeting room and Friend’s Bookroom.