The challenge was to build a large, beautiful, future-focused library that anticipates the needs of a diverse population without overwhelming the laid-back beach town of Half Moon Bay, California. Achieving these goals required a design process that engaged all parts of the community and created a sense of shared commitment. The result of this process is a building that looks like nothing around it, yet still fits the surrounding area.
Without a single surfboard or wave, the design relies instead upon a refined coastal palette. Simple, natural materials such as reclaimed wood, patinated copper and rough stone will weather attractively with minimal maintenance. Everywhere, natural light and views of nature and the ocean draw the outside into the interior space.
The interior palette allows the building structure and views to take center stage. The restrained ocean boardwalk theme in the children’s area features subtle water motifs. With the future of the library in mind, furniture was selected for durability and timeless design. A range of seating options, including benches, ottomans, and armchairs, accommodate a range of postures to serve multi-generational users. Many of the seating options provided have built-in flexibility which allows both single users and groups to use the space comfortably.
Every square foot of the 22,000 SF library earns its keep to maximize the $24M project budget. Flexibility is key throughout. Much of the shelving is mobile to allow quick and easy reconfiguration as needs change. The community room can host a large event that spills naturally out into the garden, or be easily divided into two smaller spaces.
The building is designed to achieve both Zero-Net Energy and LEED Platinum certification—weaving sustainable elements through all parts of the site, building, and design.
Photography: Anthony Lindsey Photography (all other photos), Tubay Yabut (drone photography)
Half Moon Bay Library
Location: Half Moon Bay, CA
Design Team: Noll & Tam Architects