Santa Monica Public Library, Santa Monica, CA

The city of Santa Monica’s most popular institution is its public library, which includes two stories totaling 110,000 sf, located above three levels of subterranean parking. The library houses an enclosed courtyard, cafe, computer lab, auditorium, children and teen areas, public meeting spaces and expansion space for the Santa Monica Historical Society Museum. The community’s focus on responsible and sustainable development resulted in an ambitious project, which achieved a LEED Gold certification. The project used design-build delivery.

The city of Santa Monica’s most popular tourist destination is its unrivaled beaches adjoining Santa Monica Bay. Water quality is of critical importance, and the beaches can be closed due to stormwater runoff fouling the bay. The public library design includes a 200,000-gallon stormwater cistern, which collects, filters and recycles rainwater for landscape irrigation, and can be drained down in advance of a storm event for rainwater collection before releasing it into the city’s storm drains—a true stormwater management system.

Environmentally conscious building strategies include an underfloor air distribution system, which improves cooling and air quality, and increases usable space. The building operates in mixed-mode fashion, with manually operable windows and doors for natural ventilation integrated into the building control system to shut off the HVAC when in passive conditioning mode. Daylighting analysis allows the library to take advantage of natural light in reading areas. No CFC- or HCFC-based refrigerants are used in the building’s heating and cooling system. Carbon monoxide levels are monitored in the underground parking structure to optimize ventilation while saving energy. The building includes a 10-KW roof-mounted photovoltaic (PV) system that generates renewable electricity on-site, helping reduce dependence on utility electric power.

American Architecture Award, 2007
APWA SoCal. Chapter, Project of the Year, 2006

LEED Status

110,000 sf

City of Santa Monica

Moore Ruble Yudell Architects & Planners

Morley Builders

10-KW rooftop photovoltaic system
High-efficiency HFC (R-134a) chiller plant
Cistern greywater storage/distribution
Design-build delivery
Underfloor air distribution