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.

The signage is ridiculous, it consists of three lines of small size graphic letters. Only the last line actually contains the word library. The first two lines were the detailed first and last names of both donors who contributed to the library, in which font size was exactly the same as the word library at the very END. During a drive-by, one has no idea what all the words actually say, since there are so many, and they are so small! It is horrible practice to display the name of the function of the building LAST, which should be in a bigger font size than any single name attached to it.

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  • Project Awarded

    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

    Project Architect/Designer:

    Mosher Drew Manuel Orcina and Pape/ Baldwin Architects

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

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