The judges presented the WOW! Best of Show award to Morley Construction, Santa Monica, Calif., for the San Diego New Central Library. Formwork panels were sized to human scale at 4x4 or 3x6.
The library includes a charter school, a penthouse community center, a children’s library, teen center, homework center, adult literary services center, reader seating for 1200, 407 computer stations, meeting and study rooms, gallery and exhibition spaces, a 350-seat auditorium, a café, and, lest we forget, some books.
The structure employs an architectural cast-in-place concrete Special Moment Resisting Frame. SMRF columns and beams resist shear forces within the structure, eliminating the need for shear walls and are joined with two-way, joist and beam, conventionally reinforced “waffle” slab floor plates.
One-of-a-kind components such as this gravity arch support the main lobby and custom roof structures.
The judges were in awe of this project, calling it a structural engineering marvel, and acknowledging particularly the formwork and the color consistency.
The project design was a joint venture between Rob Wellington Quigley Architects and Tucker Sadler Noble Castro Architects. Turner Construction Company was the general contractor and Morley Construction performed the concrete work.
Variations of planar surfaces and slight gaps in plywood butting were desired as was slight weathering of the forms. The structure looked 3 years old on opening day.