Johnson Favaro

Johnson Favaro

Culver City, CA


Johnson Favaro to Design New Main Library in Riverside, CA

By Johnson_Favaro
Oct 31, '17 2:01 PM EST

Culver City, CA (August 28, 2017) – After a twelve-year planning process and year- long selection process, the Riverside City Council has selected Los Angeles-based architecture firm, Johnson Favaro, to design their new Main Library in downtown Riverside, the sixth largest city in California. 
The three-story, 40,000 – 45,000 square-foot library will replace the existing 1960sera building and will sit on a city owned 2½ acre property on the east side of downtown Riverside, down the street from the famous Mission Inn. In addition to the library, Johnson Favaro will design a master plan for the entire site, which will include a new public park and mixed use residential development. The new residences and commercial establishments to be incorporated in this master plan will maximize the site’s capacity, effectively employing the available space to better incorporate the new library into the surrounding downtown neighborhood.  

“We hope the library will become a focal point for the city, not only as a unique new landmark, but as a regular destination,” said principal architect, Jim Favaro. “Our plan is to create both a library and neighborhood that work well together and are beautiful–a place where people want to be and live.” 
The library proper, a double-height, long span, loft-like volume, will float 36-feet above street level in order to give the building the stature it deserves and capture views of the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountains to the north. This raised floor will create a large 20,000 square-foot shaded, outdoor public plaza at ground level for community events such as markets, festivals and gatherings. An enclosed public meeting room and bookstore will also reside at ground level. 
An elevator from the plaza below will transport people to the building’s entrance on the 2nd floor. This main floor will serve as the library’s most active space and will include a “marketplace” display area with recent and popular books, periodicals, community tables, a check-in desk, and event space. The children’s library and young adult innovation center will also occupy this floor.  A 4,000 square-foot outdoor terrace will host programming for the community and offer views of a local natural landmark, Mount Rubidoux to the southwest. A double-height (30-foot ceiling) multi-purpose room will serve as a quiet reading room during library hours and as an extension of the outdoor terrace during community events. The terrace and the reading room can be joined into one larger event space by opening large glass panels that allow the two spaces to communicate visually and functionally, effectively doubling the size of the terrace and shading half of it.  From the second floor 35-foot high double height spaces link visually to the 3rd floor mezzanine where additional quiet adult reading and collections areas are located.  This floor includes the local history reading room, four small group study rooms and administration offices for the City of Riverside’s library system.  
Special features of the library include street side storage and public displays for Riverside’s extensive local history archives, furnishings from Riverside’s original Carnegie library (demolished when the existing 1960s-era library was built), as well as an innovation center that will provide creative work space for young adults. The library plans to expand upon what it has already developed at the existing library (it’s “makerspace”), which currently provides access to 3D printing, a sound recording studio, iMacs, laptops, and computer coding instruction.  

The architecture of the new library will model, in a contemporary manner, the early California adobe and mission architecture which were –as was characteristic of the American west-- simple and yet bold interpretations of the more flamboyant baroque architecture of Spain from which they derived. Less an imitation or even evocation of that architecture the new library will honor that tradition by carrying forward its principles of spontaneity, complexity and drama into the future in ways which are both surprising and believable.  Clad in marble printed porcelain slabs on all sides (including the library’s underside that covers the outdoor plaza below) the building will resemble a carved block of marble floating mid-air.    

About Johnson Favaro 
Steve Johnson and Jim Favaro founded the architecture practice Johnson Favaro in 1988 in Culver City, CA with a commitment to the public realm where they believe excellent architecture has the greatest impact and is most appropriately experienced. 
For over thirty years Johnson Favaro has focused their work on schools, libraries, civic, cultural and community institutions, both private and public. The firm is founded on the principle that high quality and inspiring architecture in support of the social infrastructure of which these institutions are a part is crucial in the advancement of our democracy and civil society.  
Current work includes the Museum of Redlands (MOR), the new administrative headquarters for UCLA University Extension, a new early education and elementary school in West Hollywood, CA and an Allied Health Sciences building for Southwestern College in National City, CA. 

Contact: Katia Lhammi Blue Medium Inc. 212.675.1800