"Big things don't happen overnight," says architect Rob Quigley, speaking to Breadtruck Films, "and civic buildings certainly don't happen overnight." The words ring true in the context of Quigley's San Diego New Central Library, which opened in 2013 following a protracted 17 year period of design and construction. After conceiving of the design in 1996, Quigley's plans for the library were "put on the back burner" when planning authorities chose to halt construction on the project in favor of a new ballpark. Construction eventually recommenced years later, in what has since been described as "absolutely a surreal experience."
In this video Quigley describes the driving force of "creating an architecture that responds honestly and authentically to who we are," and how the library has come to be a "symbol of [San Diego]'s commitment to learning and literacy."
"Conceived as a sandwich" in which "the meat of the library... the working floors" is layered between the "cultural bread" of street level and top floor amenities, the project has been met with acclaim, including the 2014 APW Project of the Year award for Sustainable/Green Buildings and the 2014 ASCE Outstanding Award in Architectural engineering.
"It's absolutely true that what we build reflects who we are," Quigley says, "The hopes and dreams of a city are reflected in its public architecture. That's what nurtures our civilization, that's what makes a city better."