AKA: City of Glendale, Public Library, Main Library #3, Downtown, Glendale, CA

Structure Type: built works - social and civic buildings - libraries

Designers: Becket, Welton D., and Associates, Architects (firm); Gruen Associates, Architecture / Planning / Engineering (firm); Martin, John A., and Associates, Incorporated, (JAMA) Structural Engineers (firm); Welton David Becket (architect); Victor David Gruen (architect); John A. Martin Sr. (structural engineer); Marvin Leon Taff (architect)

Dates: constructed 1973

2 stories, total floor area: 92,600 sq. ft.

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222 East Harvard Street
Downtown, Glendale, CA 91205

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Building History

The Glendale Central Library opened on 03/13/1973, replacing the Glendale Union High School #2 and Glendale College that once stood on this corner of East Harvard Street and South Louise Street. The design of this new library was by the Los Angeles office of Welton D. Becket and Associates, then one of the largest architectural firms in the US. Marvin Taff, of the Becket firm served as the designer for the Glendale Central Library.


According to the Glendale Public Library, the Central Library was renovated in late 1992: "That remodel brought library users a larger Children's Room and a separate Audio Visual area. The upper level included an expansion of the Special Collections room to accommodate the valuable historical information housed there, and a room for free computer workshops." (See City of Glendale, Public Library, "Library History," accessed 03/28/2018.)

In 2016-2017, another renovation took place. The library described this second building overhaul: "[It] will be a state-of-the-art facility for public access to information and technology. In addition to fresh new spaces for learning, studying, and collaboration, it will include a MakerSpace, a Remembrance Room, a Digital Lab, six new conference rooms, a reinvigorated teen space, an upgraded auditorium with a green room/audio mixing room and an adjoining catering kitchen, an updated Children’s Room, and more self-service options." (See City of Glendale, Public Library, "Central Library Grand Re-Opening," accessed 03/28/2018.)

The web site of Gruen Associates, architect for this 2016-2017, stated of the alterations: "Gruen Associates is working on the renovation of the iconic, 90,000-SF existing 1970’s Brutalist-style concrete library. The renovation includes improving urban design linkages between the library’s function within the surrounding Glendale downtown area; an urban infrastructure that has changed significantly since the library’s initial design. A major aspect of the urban design response is consideration of revising how one enters the building while improving function and flexibility of interior spaces. Carefully relocating the library’s main entrance from the building’s east side to its north side would create a new entry plaza oriented toward the burgeoning Glendale Arts District." (See Gruen Associates.com, "Glendale Central Library Renovation," accessed 11/14/2018.) Gruen worked with the structural engineering firm, John A. Martin and Associates; Barry Schindler and Ben Rogowski worked on the effort for them. John A. Martin and Associates' web site outlined the work that it did in on the seismic renovation: "Structurally the building underwent a voluntary seismic rehabilitation to correct deficient concrete column confinement, a lack of shear walls, and non code-conforming lap length on boundary elements." (See John A. Martin and Associates.com, "Glendale Library Reopens After Extensive Rehabilitation," accessed 11/14/2018.)

The renovated Glendale Central Library opened on Monday, 05/01/2017. The Los Angeles Times summarized the changes that occurred: "Among the building renovations are earthquake retrofitting, the main entrance moved from the east to the north, reorganized structures to allow daylight to flood the new 'reading spa' with a view of Central Park and installation of an elevator. Seventy computers linked by high-speed broadband Internet and new Wi-Fi-enabled conference rooms also bring the previously aging infrastructure into the 21st century." (See Jeff Landa, "'Reimagined' Glendale Central Library celebrates its grand opening," published 05/02/2017, accessed 11/14/2018.) The Los Angeles Conservancy, an important local historic preservation group, gave the renovation its Conservancy Preservation Award in 2018.

PCAD id: 21888