Long Beach, Ca.
An Alternative Proposal…….
Long Beach Main LIbrary Roof Envisioning
This project is a speculative proposal to the City of Long Beach which envisions a cultural adaption and technical update to the existing Main Library. Our proposal is a reaction to the political environment which finds it easier to make a new library than adapt the existing.
Our design attempts to facilitate a new dialogue about what our library could be as the iconic cultural register, as it was always intended to be.
To revitalize the way in which the library is experienced and utilized by its public; to provide a Main Library Roof Park that re-engages the community with the library with a visually stimulating outdoor space; to create the intimacy and amenities of your favorite neighborhood café.
This is a culmination of the efforts from a number of different contributing professionals including Architects, Landscape designers, Conservationists, Structural Engineers and Community Spokespersons all of whom have donated their time and efforts towards development and idea that reclaims the library roof as a usable public resource. The original idea for the library roof is that it should be a place of gathering, it should be a place that facilitates access to a garden like environment for the citizens of Long Beach, and that it was visionary for its time. These aspirations however valiant fell short in some technical aspects including the inability to solve a number of architectural challenges including water intrusion into the library, inadequate pedestrian access, unsafe guardrails, and a general sense of being separate from the park and being overwrought with planters.
The library roof as it exists is an 80,000 sq.ft. space which was originally designed in the 60’s as one of the first “green roof” structures. Although visionary for its time, in its current condition it is irrelevant and inaccessible. This design addresses these issues and extends the libraries functionality by demonstrating the technical ability to resolve existing problems with leaking and seismic retrofit.
Today the contemporary reading condition is one that is more frequently sitting outside with a coffee rather than the historically introverted version which attempted to enclose (for security of books) the reader. By embracing the library roof as an extension of the library through WIFI electronic checkout systems, it is possible to project the library functions into a more natural and scenic environment. How wonderful it would be to sit outside, enjoy the sunlight, get your favorite coffee and sit down with an Ipad to read your favorite novel. This is the experience that we are envisioning.
Other amenities being proposed include an outdoor theater, coffee kiosks, shaded seating and ADA compliant ramps. We also emphasize sustainability as one of the most primary of contemporary adaptions and we are proposing implementation of Photovoltaic tablet charging stations, capturing of the roofs watershed (storing enough water in a single year to 70% of the irrigation needs for the entire civic center), and the ultimate of sustainability – it allows us to continue using the library in its updated version rather than tearing it down to build another.
Please enjoy our proposal and imagine with us a better Long Beach!