California’s sixth largest city is finally about to receive a new main library on a two-and-a-half acre site in downtown Riverside. After a 12-year planning process and a yearlong selection process, the Riverside City Council selected Johnson Favaro to design the new building.
The library will take the form of a three-story building with between 40,000 and 45,000 sf of space. It will be clad in marble printed porcelain slabs on all sides to achieve the aesthetic of a block of marble floating mid-air. The library building will be combined with a new public park and a mixed-use residential development, which will also be designed by Johnson Favaro.
The library building itself will float 36-feet above street level to provide views of the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountains to the north. Raising the building above street level will create a 20,000-sf shaded outdoor public plaza at ground level. This space will be able top host farmers markets, festivals, and public gatherings. An enclosed public meeting room and a bookstore will also be located at ground level.
Guests to the library will take an elevator from the plaza below to the building’s entrance on the second floor. Upon entering the library’s main floor, guests will be greeted with a “marketplace” display with recent popular books, periodicals, community tables, a check-in desk, and event space. Also located on the main floor will be the children’s library and a young adult innovation center. The innovation center will provide access to 3D printing, a sound recording studio, iMacs, laptops, and computer coding instruction.
An included 4,000-sf outdoor terrace and a double-height multi-purpose room can be joined together to create a large event space. This double-height space acts as a visual link to the third floor mezzanine, which includes a local history reading room, four small group study rooms, and administration offices.