2013 Recipient | AIA/ALA Library Building Awards

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South Mountain Community Library | Notes of Interest

The building integrates the varied uses of a contemporary public library with the needs of a state-of-the-art central campus library, allowing each to function both independently and collaboratively. The design is modeled after that of an integrated circuit, providing insulation between disparate functions and promoting interaction and connection between like functions and spaces.

The simple massing of the building is attenuated to focus views on the surrounding mountains and provide shade and transparency. The site was once home to fertile agricultural valleys and citrus groves, and the building consciously merges interior and exterior spaces to connect to the area’s rich history. A series of rooftop monitors and light shafts flood natural light into the first-level core. The rain screen, formed of bent planks of copper, calls to mind the pattern of an abstracted bar code. Variegated cedar strips reinforce the digital aesthetic of the building. Further echoing the design of a circuit board, building systems are organized and expressed within an internally lit independent distribution soffit.

Abstracted agricultural patterns are digitally imprinted on the skylight liners and laser-cut guardrails. Accessible flooring provides flexibility for power and data. The library includes a 200-seat meeting room, conference and multimedia center, high-tech classrooms, computer center, and a children’s area.

Additional Credit

  • Architect - Landscape: Kimley-Horn & Associates, Inc.
  • Consultant – Acoustical: McKay Conant Hoover, Inc.
  • Consultant - Library Building: Drew Harrington Associates
  • Consultant – Lighting: Roger Smith Lighting Design Consultant
  • Engineer – Civil: Dibble Engineering
  • Engineer – MPE: Energy Systems Design
  • Engineer – Structural: rudow + berry, inc.

Photo Credit

  • © Bill Timmerman, Timmerman Photography, Inc.
  • © Mark Boisclair, Mark Bosclair Photography, Inc.

South Mountain Community Library

Jury Comments

Shared use of public library and academic library creates a bridge between the community and academia. The attention to detailing and the imaginative use of materials both inside and out are noteworthy.

In this highly original concept, spaces that are grand interlock with spaces that are intimate to create a welcome rhythm and sense of place throughout the building.

2013 AIA/ALA Library Building Awards Jury

  • Jeanne M. Jackson, FAIA, Chair
  • VCBO Architecture
  • Salt Lake City
  • John R. Dale, FAIA
  • Harley Ellis Devereaux
  • Los Angeles
  • Charles Forrest
  • Emory University Libraries
  • Atlanta
  • Kathleen Imhoff
  • Lexington, Kentucky
  • J. Stuart Pettitt, AIA
  • Straub Pettitt Yaste
  • Clawson, Michigan
  • John F. Szabo
  • Los Angeles Public Library
  • Los Angeles

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