Mission Hills-Hillcrest Harley & Bessie Knox Branch Library

This faux “Mission Style” something is what the community received when a city supported not-for-profit organization made a Faustian bargain with the Donor Funding Gods. Upon entering one notices the prison-like chainlink fence to the left that separates the library from the adjacent elementary school, a huge missed opportunity. From the steel beams, painted to look like wood members, to a combination of river rock, ashlar stone, fake soffit material, to a kiva fireplace thing, (I think), this poorly scaled, convoluted, and forced design soul sucking adventure begins in a courtyard that is an odd combination of street utilities, a stone entrance gate, (of course), and seemingly wasted space only to end up in a generic room with more fake beams appearing to come out of nowhere. Because of the lack of community involvement, due to the donors’ wishes for a “Mission Style” building, the attempt to represent the past is a sad statement to the present and future. With all the allegories to make this poorly massed thing look like an Arts & Crafts house, it seems this structure would be better suited as a suburban furniture store or Disneyland Park souvenir shop. However, the parking structure is nice.

Total 0 Votes

Tell us how can we improve this post?


Verify Human or Spambot ?

  • Onion Nominee

  • Project Address:

    215 Washington St., Hillcrest, San Diego, CA 92103

    Project Owner/Developer:

    City of San Diego

    Owner Contact Name/Email:

    City of San Diego, Tony Perez/email ?

    Project Architect/Designer:

    Mosher Drew Mauel Orcina and Pape/ Baldwin Architects

Contact Us

Contact Us



P.O. Box 122228
San Diego, CA 92112-2228
Federal Tax ID: 95-3513927

Sign Up

Stay on top of your Architectural news

Orchids & Onions is an educational and fundraising program of the San Diego Architectural Foundation, a 501(c)3, nonprofit organization dedicated to education and the promotion of outstanding architecture, planning and urban design throughout the San Diego region.

Get in the Mix