Pico Branch Library
Santa Monica, CA
- Koning Eizenberg Architecture, Inc.
- Santa Monica, CA
- 1M - 100M
- 1-5 Stories
The library is both a resource and social gathering place for a diverse community who were invested participants in the public design process.
Located in the center of Virginia Avenue Park, the library is surrounded by low income apartment residents to the north and single family households to the south. The interactive design process quickly revealed the community desire to maintain all green space and favored locating the library at the edge of the Saturday Farmer’s Market Plaza. The active face of the library replaces the blank face of an existing building and bumps into the market with a resonance that energized the community, and around which, librarians developed programs about food and health. Constrained to the east by the playing field the building jumps the fire lane to the west to include a needed community room. The move, initiated by necessity, leverages opportunities: the community room and small amphitheater forge a link to the Park Center while the photovoltaic canopy that spans the fire lane enhances the pedestrian quality of this important north/south path that connects indoor programs and neighborhoods.
Visibility in and out is achieved with expansive glazing shaded by deep overhangs and awnings. Oversized north facing skylights amplify the light inside and reduce obscuring reflection from the outside. This integrated design approach to daylight harvesting generated the architectural identity of the building and contributes to a projected LEED Platinum designation. Other sustainable strategies are less form defining: storm water is collected and used to flush toilets, permeable paving assists in water management goals, raised floor ventilation provides optimum thermal comfort and the acoustic plaster ceiling improves sound quality. The bright roof keeps the building cooler and light sensors maximize the energy benefit of natural lighting. Photovoltaics reduce the carbon footprint by offsetting 11,000+ kwh of electrical use per year and are configured to contribute shadow patterns and a sense of wonder.