Johnson Favaro's long-delayed Main Library in Riverside, California gains steam

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Johnson Favaro's long-delayed Main Library in Riverside, California gains steam

A long-delayed plan to replace Riverside, California's aging Main Library finally has a design. (Courtesy Johnson Favaro)

Riverside, California’s long-delayed Main Library redevelopment plan is showing signs of life, as a new design proposal by Los Angeles–based architects Johnson Favaro has come to light and begun a public vetting process.

The proposal calls for a three-story, 35,000-square-foot library to be located at the site of the city’s former Greyhound bus terminal.

The library features soaring interiors that will be designed with a focus on active uses; the complex also includes a large covered outdoor space along the ground floor. (Courtesy Johnson Favaro)

Renderings for the $40 million project depict a proud structure raised on a set of piers that frame a generous covered outdoor breezeway at the base of the building. The building’s lower levels are occupied by a local history archive as well as support functions designed to serve the site’s open spaces.

Much of the library’s interior volume will be contained within a double-height space located above the breezeway. The structure’s main facade is punctuated by a large oculus that overlooks the street and offers views into the library. The building will also feature a south-facing terrace on the second floor that will be oriented toward nearby mountain views.

One-third of the building site will be occupied by the new library; Johnson Favaro is master planning the remaining two-thirds of the site to receive a high-density housing tower sometime in the future. (Courtesy Johnson Favaro)

The Press-Enterprise reports that the interiors will come with stationary bicycle desks that can be used to power electronic devices. The complex will also include a business incubator and a toy and tool lending library.

Johnson Favaro’s proposal is planned to take up approximately one-third of the site in order to allow the remaining portions to be developed as a high-rise, mixed use private development sometime in the future. The firm is master planning the remaining portions of the site in preparation for future construction.

In a press release, Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey boasted about the planned library’s broad appeal, saying, “Libraries have evolved into information centers that serve everyone from young children checking out their first books to adults who are looking to re-enter the workforce. Riversiders of all ages can look forward to an amazing place that focuses on exploration and innovation.”

The project is currently undergoing a public comment period prior to the submission of an environmental impact report. City agencies plan to break ground in 2018 and have the building completed in 2019.