Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Mesa Public Library: A Southwest Fusion of Freestyling, Views, and Architecture

On a recent trip to New Mexico, I stopped by the Mesa Public Library in Los Alamos. The first thing you notice is that there’s a skateboard park right in front of the library!

Skateboard park at the Mesa Public LibraryOnce inside the library building, it’s hard not to be distracted by the spectacular views of the Jemez Mountains to the west. A wall of windows frames the mountains.

View of the Jemez Mountains

The Mesa Public Library Building
AIA Gold Medal Award winning architect Antoine Predock designed the 48,000 square foot Mesa Public Library building which opened to the public on October 5, 1994. Visitors and students of architecture from all over the world are intrigued by the unusual angles and curves of the building.

Mesa Public Library architecture: windows within walls

The kiva-inspired reading rooms add a touch of the Southwest to the library experience.

Mesa Public Library architecture: kiva-inspired reading room

History of Los Alamos
Los Alamos was founded as a secret planned community to provide housing for the employees of the Manhattan Project during World War II. Although locals were aware of its existence, all information about the town was highly classified until the bombing of Hiroshima, and any outbound correspondence by those working and living in Los Alamos was censored by military officials. At the time, it was referred to as "The Hill" by many in Santa Fe, and as "Site Y" by military personnel.

As you travel around Washington state and beyond, stop by the local public library to savor a true community experience.

Redmond Library Board


Brian Lutz said...

Los Alamos is the town I grew up in, although I left for Redmond about a year or so after this was completed. It was designed by Antoine Predock, an Albuquerque-based architect who has designed a lot of notable structures, including the Tacoma Art Museum and Petco Park in San Diego. Of course, at the time, a lot of people thought it was all a pretentious waste of money...

Anonymous said...

I appreciated Brian's comment. It seems like every attempt to bring Los Alamos into the 21st Century always draws criticism as a waste of money. The Mesa Public Library is a good example of public perception proving to be wrong.

I've never been much of a fan of its exterior appearance -- too much like cinder block. But inside, it is a marvel, just as the article describes it. So, if you are judging this book by its cover, you simply need to venture inside. It is a reader's and viewer's delight.