San Juan Capistrano, CA, United States

MGA received the commission for the public library of San Juan Capistrano through a 1980-81 design competition. Guidelines requiring that the design follow the indigenous Spanish Mission style of the city led MGA to explore the attributes of the style as a generic type. Central to both the style and the library design are the introduction and management of natural light through light monitors, clerestories, arcades and pergolas. In keeping with Spanish Mission traditions, the 14,000-SF building is organized around a central courtyard, with the children’s wing located on one side, adult collection on the second, and a community auditorium on the third. Temporary reading gazebos, now demolished, were originally situated on the fourth side, where MGA has since planned an expansion to accommodate library growth. The project received a National AIA Honor Award.