13a Los Angeles Public Library - From Library Steps - Central Library - HCM-46 (E)
National Register of Historic Places No. 70000136, Added 1970
Los Ahgeles Historic Cultural Monument No. 46, Added 03/01/1967
The Richard Riordon Central Library, Tom Bradley Wing, and Maquire Gardens
Formerly named: The Central Library and The Rufus B. von KleinSmid Library
630 W 5th Street, Los Angeles, CA
Bertram Grosvenor Goodhew, 1926
North Facade and star-burst pyramid.
If the beloved New York Central Library on 5th Avenue in Manhattan suffered a devistating fire and the library board and City Council voted to replace the structure with a new building the pulbic outrage would be overwelming. That is what happened in Los Angeles when the Los Angeles Central Library suffered two arson fires in 1986 that destroyed approximately 20% of the library's collection, and damaged a significant portion of the rest.
The "Save the Books" campaign formed by Mayor Tom Bradley brought together civic leaders to restore, modernize, and expand the 1926 library, designed by Architect Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue. A majority of the funds were raised by selling the air space above the library to the Library Tower across the street at the foot of Bunker Hill.
Designed in the Art Deco style, influenced by anciet Egyptian and Mediterranean Revival styles, the renamed Richard Riordon Library is one of Downtown's jewels. It's hard to imagine anyone even considered tearing down this Goodhue masterpiece.
Reopened in 1993 the library was extensivly rennovated and expanded. The original building was restored, including the rotunda murals painted by Dean Cornwell and the Children's Literature Department murals painted by Albert Herter. The magnificient gardens, which were removed in the 1970's to allow for employee parking, were recreated as the Macquire Gardens, with installations by Judd Fine, Laddie John Dill, and Landscape Architect Lawrence Halprin. The library was expanded with the creation of a new wing, The Tom Bradley Wing is designed in the "Modernist/Beaux Arts Style" (Beaux Arts Revival) by Architect Norman Pheiffer. The Atrium's chandeliers were created by Artist Therman Statum, and the lanterns created by Artist Anne Preston.
The Los Angeles Central Public Library combines some of the best and notable art and architecture to be found anywhere in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles Public Library: www.lapl.org/central/art_architecture.html
Wikipedia, Los Angeles Public Library: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Angeles_Public_Library
Wikipedia, Architect Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bertram_Grosvenor_Goodhue