The new San Diego Central Library— Why women should not vote
The new San Diego Central Library is already a week old after its grand opening on Monday, September 30, 2013. It is a photographer’s dream, both inside and outside, with its interesting architecture, angles, windows, elevators, walls, stairs, interior design, public art…. I can see photographers practicing their craft in this building for many decades, hopefully centuries, to come.
The dome, at 143 feet in diameter and 255′ tall, is the third largest dome in North America. The widest are the Superdome at 680′ and Astrodome at 642′. The tallest are Texas Capitol at 310′ and United States Capitol at 288′.
The Library was built from 2010-2013. The Superdome was built from 1971-1975, St. Peter’s Basilica from 1506-1626, and Il Duomo di Firenze from 1296-1436. I hope that libraries, and the new San Diego Central Library, are around in 700 years, or even 40 years!
Following are 31 pictures of the interior and exterior (mostly interior; for more exterior pictures, see the three links at the end of this post) along with some trivia (called “facts” on the Library’s PR materials).
One of Lego’s six LEGOLAND theme parks is located here in San Diego County. How appropriate, then, that in the lobby of the new Library is a large Lego model of the Library:
Unfortunately, none of the PR materials indicate how many Legos it took to build the model :).
Jim said that the library looked very industrialized. It does. A great description, and, I think, appropriate since it and the nearby Petco Park (where the Padres purport to play professional baseball) both were built in the old East Village industrialized area of downtown San Diego.
The Library won the 2013 “Best in Show” by the Decorative Concrete Council of the American Society of Concrete Contractors. Along with 43,000 cubic yards of concrete and 850 miles of steel rebar, there are 328 concrete columns and 356 concrete “wallumns.” The lobby features an exposed structural concrete gravy arch 46′ tall and 70′ wide.
Throughout the years, many citizens have left their art collections to the Library but the old building had no place to exhibit them. Thus they were stored in the basement beyond anyone’s enjoyment. In the new Library, there is art everywhere, and plenty of space for more.
A library, of course, is very much about history. In light of old Republican white men doing everything they can to control women’s vaginas, not to mention the voting rights of minorities, I was fascinated by the historical display on women’s suffrage. Stupid women, voting is for men!
Study rooms, conference rooms, reference rooms, reading areas, and computer areas are plentiful and spacious, lending an air of relaxation to them and making one want to stay and have fun learning.
The ceilings are exposed concrete “waffle” decks designed for both structural strength and aesthetics. I found the interior design accoutrements more appealing, and they helped soften the hardness of too much exposed concrete.
I found the follow beauty with long drawers full of 3×5 cards…….. Interesting………Smile if you know what all the little cards are for….
Browsing through the nine floors of the Library provides many opportunities for a photographer to get interesting pictures.
Even the power transformers, visible on a ledge outside a window, were beautiful and picture-worthy:
There were two elevators (not enough!), and the walls were covered with what looked like common stucco lathe.
That will keep people from writing on the walls, but I can see people sticking their gum in it. When I commented on it, the guy we were riding with in the elevator said, “It makes a great back scratcher.” Jim and I tested it…. yes, it does!
There is a 350-seat auditorium but it was not open while we were there. However, Jim and his chamber music group will be playing three concerts there next June and July. I’ll have a report then….
Jim and I found three areas of disappointment:
Lack of elevators. Two elevators are not enough to service a nine-floor library.
The parking garage. It’s underground and features 250 parking spaces. The old library had 0 (zero) parking spaces. Unfortunately, it was poorly designed, causing those searching for a parking spot to have to go around in circles and meet both entering and exiting traffic. If you’re trying to get out and get behind people looking for parking, you can sit there for many, many minutes. Skip the underground parking garage and park in the lot across the street or on surrounding streets. Both have adequate parking.
The sinks in the ninth floor restrooms (or at least the men’s restroom). Here is what they look like:
They are meant to look like open books. The spine is the drain. However, if you are standing in front of the sink washing your hands and have no knowledge of these two poorly designed sinks, you’ll quickly have wet feet. Water pours out of the end of the sinks and onto the floor. It happens quickly and it’s not just a dribble, so watch out!
e3 Civic High, a charter high school, is located on the sixth and seventh floors. It solved the need for a new high school in downtown San Diego to alleviate the overcrowding of nearby high schools and helped with financing the new library. San Diego Unified School District paid $20 million in exchange for a 40-year lease for the high school, which eventually will help over 500 students prepare for college and careers.
- The library cost $196.7 million but is completely paid for! And with no nex taxes, no construction bonds, and not even a penny of San Diego’s General Fund. Even ongoing operating costs have been taken into consideration with two private contributions totaling $15 million. Over three thousand bricks in the lobby and courtyard floors were purchased for $150 to $1,000 each. Many bricks are still available if you would like to be a part of the Library.
- There is a 3,000-square-foot art gallery which will showcase the library’s Visual Arts Program.
- The Hervey Rare Books Room includes tablets with cuneiform inscriptions dating from 2300 B.C.
- The new library building is 497,652 square feet, with 290,000 square feet dedicated specifically to the library, twice the size of the old library.
- The Library’s 1.2-million-items special collection and the 1.6-million-items government publications, previously stored in the basement of the old library and inaccessible, are now on public shelves and available for browsing and research.
- The Pauline Foster Teen Center is a beach-themed space for teens only. It is a relaxing and safe environment that includes a specialized media and gaming room, computers, and study rooms to encourage teens to hang out and collaborate. Bring your iPads, Chromebooks, and eReaders, or use those available in the Library.
- If you love baseball, you’ll love the Sullivan Family Baseball Research Center, home of the Ted Williams Chapter of the Society of American Baseball Research collection. It is the largest baseball archive outside the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
- The Shiley Special Events Suite offers panoramic views of downtown San Diego and the waterfront. It can be reserved for weddings and other functions.
- I’m still exploring the Library and have not yet found the “Pelican’s Perch” or the “Stairway to Somewhere.” As soon as I do, I’ll post pictures right here in my blog!
More about the new San Diego Central Library:
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Posted on October 7, 2013, in Architecture, Halls of History, History, Manmade, Out & About, Photos, Public art, Railroads & trains and tagged san diego central library pictures. Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.