In collaboration with AIA Los Angeles and AIA LA COTE
Join AIA Los Angeles COTE for an in person for a tour of the Billie Jean King Main Library in Long Beach.
Project Designed by: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
From the early conceptual stages dating back to 2014, the City of Long Beach, library staff, and design team shared a vision of the new library and park as a place for the neighborhood to gather. The intent was to create a building not just to keep books, but a space alive with activity—a warehouse of knowledge and unique community center. The Billie Jean King Main Library was imagined as a pavilion within the new Lincoln Park, welcoming people inside from all parts of the city.
To make the project financially feasible, a public-private partnership (P3) was formed to allow the developer to assume construction and maintenance responsibilities of the finished buildings with the city paying rent for the first 40 years of occupancy. The framework and team structure of the P3 delivery method allowed multidisciplinary teams to form lines of open communication and identify shared project goals among themselves as well as with the City of Long Beach and library staff very early in the design process.
The team focused on creating a sustainable, now LEED Platinum Certified, timber structure that provides a light-filled, open, and warm interior environment. To achieve this vision, the glulam timber girders, joists, and plywood decking comprising the superstructure are intentionally left exposed, contributing to a captivating interior atmosphere. The building envelope, composed of unitized curtainwall system, is also designed to maximize daylight and views while mitigating glare and solar radiation.
Because the project will be maintained by the developer over the next four decades, quality and durability were the focus of many discussions over the course of five years—from design conception to completion of the library. The design-build team and client had a shared goal to maximize value and fine-tune solutions to achieve best possible outcome for the city and its community.
José Luis Palacios, AIA – Design Principal, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
José Luis Palacios is Design Principal for SOM’s Los Angeles studio. With over three decades of professional experience his focus has been in the ‘making” of buildings, offering simple and artful solutions to complex problems that entail immense technical knowledge and a profound attention to detail. Through innovative design thinking and effective leadership, Jose’s role as a leader in the design of large-scale buildings and urban planning projects has been well recognized. His outstanding body of work extends over a broad range of building types including corporate offices, build-to-suit campus environments, transportation related projects, as well as an array of civic and government office and public safety complexes including the Los Angeles County Superior Courthouse in Long Beach, California, the Police Administration Building for the Los Angeles Police Department and the new LEED® Platinum-certified Los Angeles Federal Courthouse, which won the AIA’s highest awards for design and sustainability.