Los Angeles Central Library: Restoration and Addition
Los Angeles Central Library: Restoration and Addition 1
Los Angeles Central Library: Restoration and Addition 2

Los Angeles Central Library: Restoration and Addition

Los Angeles, CA

Renovating a historic landmark to its original glory—plus a huge new addition for its modern needs.

The City of Los Angeles commissioned Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates to restore and expand Bertram Goodhue’s 1926 landmark Central Library, the largest in the western United States. The project included the complete renovation of the original structure as well as an addition that more than doubled the library’s size. Its listing on the California Register of Historic Buildings required an approach that would both preserve its historical significance yet allow the library to provide services to a growing and diverse population. To avoid overwhelming the massing of the original building, the new addition places more than half its square footage below grade, connected with escalators and a soaring, eight-story atrium that brings natural light to all levels. The endeavor also included the re-creation of the West Lawn, which was removed in 1969 to provide staff parking. The design also incorporates the work of 11 sculptors and painters throughout the interior and out on the West Lawn. Since its re-opening, the Central Public Library has been widely credited as a major factor in the rebirth of downtown Los Angeles.

This project was designed by Pfeiffer prior to joining Perkins Eastman.

Project Facts

  • Client:

  • City of Los Angeles
  • Size :

  • 539,000 sf (including 328,000 sf addition)
  • Markets:

  • Libraries, Renovation + Historic Buildings
  • Region:

  • United States
  • Studios:

  • Los Angeles


  • 2018 AIA/LA Design Awards Presidential Honoree 25-year award
  • 2001 Westside Urban Forum Award
  • 1995 AIA/LA Excellence for Library Architecture Award
  • 195 AIA Honor Award for Urban Design
  • 1994 Los Angeles Conservancy Preservation Award
  • 1993 Restoration of the Year Award, Interiors Magazine
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