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West Hollywood Unveils $64M Library

West Hollywood Unveils $64M Library

The City of West Hollywood on Saturday celebrated the grand opening of its sleek, $64 million library complex, described by a leading architecture critic as "one of the seven or eight most impressive pieces of public architecture to open in Southern California in a decade."

Located near the intersection of San Vicente Boulevard and Melrose Avenue across from the Pacific Design Center, the new library features a massive exterior mural by street artists Shepard Fairey, Kenny Scharf, and Retna, as well as a coffee shop, an HIV information center, and a large collection of LGBT-related books, among other amenities.

"It certainly can't -- and doesn't try to -- match the virtuosity of [Frank] Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall or the visceral power of Thom Mayne's Caltrans District Seven Headquarters, two buildings that belong near the top of any list of new L.A. landmarks," Los Angeles Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne wrote Wednesday of the library, designed by architects Steve Johnson and James Favaro of Culver City. "But it is tough to think of many civic projects that can match the upbeat, gregarious appeal of the library, which has managed to navigate the punishing low-bid, public-sector construction process without sacrificing its ambition or design personality."

Funding for construction of the building came from a mix of public and private money, including $35 million in federal stimulus bonds.

"Fortunately, in the wisdom of councils past, the city has been setting aside money for a rainy day for 25 years, so we have stockpiled about $80 million in a capital improvement account," West Hollywood mayor John Duran said in an interview with the LA Times. "The building of a library is an obvious example that the city is doing well."

A photo gallery of the new library is available here.

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