Unveiled: West Hollywood Library

Unveiled: West Hollywood Library

The design evokes Corbu’s Villa Savoye, presenting a pleasant face to West Hollywood Park.
Courtesy MDA Johnson Favaro

Architect: MDA Johnson Favaro
Location: West Hollywood Park on San Vicente Boulevard
Construction: 2012

In June, the City of West Hollywood broke ground on a new library designed by MDA Johnson Favaro. The start follows a year-long hiatus that went into effect when construction costs rose sharply during the building boom. The city commissioned both a new building and masterplan for the adjacent West Hollywood Park, a project on the boards since 2004.

Scheduled to open in 2012, the $50 million, three-story construction will include 43,000 square feet of floor area, 32,000 square feet of which are slated for library use. The remainder of the building will house a large event space, a sidewalk cafe, and a public meeting room for community gatherings and lectures.

The masterplan will attempt to remedy the park’s lack of green space. Plans from the 1950s and ‘60s made room for only one acre of park on the 8-acre site. The new plan will create 5.5 acres of green space, condensing and clustering new facilities at the south end of the park. Later phases of the masterplan will bring a recreational facility with a pool and a gym. As each new building is completed, an old one will be taken down.

To highlight the new library’s significance as one of West Hollywood’s few civic buildings, the designers chose to invoke the Villa Savoye. The design’s square volume and white, smooth facade of cured limestone plaster may evoke Le Corbusier’s masterpiece, but undulations in the lustrous surface will imbue it with lightness and movement, making it tranquil rather than monolithic. “It’s as if it were floating over the park,” said principal Jim Favaro.

A version of this article appeared in AN 06_08.19.2009_CA.