The existing library

La Mirada Library

Originally built in 1969, the concrete block and wood framed La Mirada Library, while heavily used, had not kept pace with the evolving needs of its community. Services such as plentiful computers with internet access, homework and group study areas, dedicated young adult spaces, and a multifunction room for its active Friends of the Library group were all part of a long list of user-requested updates.

Because the project budget did not allow for more than an interior remodel and refurbishment, the overall building envelope and footprint could not be substantially altered. Nevertheless, restoring the windows that had, over the years, been replaced by opaque panels, adding some additional glazing in the Childrens area, and opening up the community meeting room with a large sliding bifold door to the surrounding walkway all brought in more natural light and enhanced the sense of openness of the otherwise sealed concrete box.

Inside, the relentless suspended ceiling grid and light fixture pattern was replaced by a more playful acoustical fabric ceiling with a constellation of suspended lights calibrated to provide varying levels of illumination depending on the use of the space below. Furniture colors and patterns, along with the judicious varying of ceiling heights and light fixture sizes introduced a subtle differentiation into the otherwise open floor plan, so that staff service stations would stand out from the public reading, book browsing, and computer areas.

Although the library cannot, due to its inefficient (by contemporary standards) exterior envelope and aging HVAC system, be considered highly energy efficient, low consumption light and plumbing fixtures were installed throughout, in an effort to conserve as much energy and as many natural resources as possible.


Address: 13800 La Mirada Boulevard, La Mirada, CA 90638

Client: City of La Mirada, County of Los Angeles Public Library

Construction Cost: $3.1 million

Building Area:15,500 s.f.

Energy and Resources: Energy efficient light fixtures and plumbing fixtures, daylight harvesting controls, recycled content in building materials

Architect of Record: emar Studio for Public Architecture