Hodgetts + Fung worked closely with community members to create design vocabulary which referenced the ethnic heritage of the residents while looking forward to growth and prosperity. HplusF was challenged to create a specific image appropriate to this neighborhood, which had campaigned successfully for a significant community icon. A copper-clad, syncopated roof structure encloses the reading room, which is easily monitored by library staff, while a tapestry of durable surfaces provides a rugged street presence.
This is a building of intense contrasts. From the uninterrupted view of the treetops across Florence Avenue, to the punched-out shards of sky glimpsed through the north-facing lattices, the building provides requisite security, yet manages to respond conscientiously to the demands of librarians as well as patrons.
Inspiration came from the rich colors and syncopated textures of traditional African clothing and sculpture, as well as the vitality of contemporary music and dance motifs, and the work of African-inspired artists such as Brancusi and Picasso - which resonated with residents, and conveyed an appreciation for the ethnic diversity of Los Angeles.