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Take a first look at Riverside’s ‘striking’ new $40 million downtown library

By in Press Enterprise on August 12, 2017

By Alicia Robinson

After years of discussion, debate and disagreement, at last there is a design.

Created by architects at Johnson Favaro, Riverside’s proposed new Main Library would be a two-story, 35,000-square-foot, building that would be elevated on a 30-foot pedestal to create a plaza and pedestrian walkway underneath.

The outer walls of the rectangular structure would be covered in white marble-look porcelain tile and plaster. An asymmetrical teardrop window would open horizontally onto the warm wood interior.

The $40 million design includes an outdoor terrace at one corner that could be used for lectures and other small events. The ground-level plaza could host performances and public gatherings.

An artist’s rendering shows Riverside’s new Main Library design with an outdoor terrace. Photo courtesy of City of Riverside

City officials hope to break ground in a year and open the building in spring 2020, City Manager John Russo said.

“I’m expecting most people to love it,” Russo said, but added that some may not like the style.

“Interesting and striking architecture has always been something that has its detractors.”

Though the site for the new library — the former bus terminal on Mission Inn Avenue at Fairmount Boulevard — is large at 2.7 acres, the building will be smaller than the current 60,000-square-foot facility and will take up less than half the site.

At first, the rest of the property will be used for surface parking, and whatever private development goes there later will have to include public parking, Library Director Tonya Kennon said.

Inside, Kennon is planning innovations such as stationary bikes with desks where patrons sit and pedal to charge their devices, lending libraries of toys and tools, work space for a business incubator and super-high-speed wireless internet.

The city’s archives, some of which are publicly available for research, would either be housed in the […]    

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