On January 14, the Huntington Library in San Marino, California opened the doors to its newly constructed visitor center, designed by Architectural Resources Group (ARG) on the grounds of prestigious gardens' former parking lot. This first part of a larger 52,000 square foot project consists of an admissions area, a café, and a new museum shop. The second part of the site, the Steven S. Koblik Education Center, containing an education center, a restaurant, a multi-purpose room and a lecture auditorium, will open this April. A glass dome covering an outdoor assembly area accentuates the entrance to the new lecture hall and multi-purpose room. The new buildings are constructed in a historical style, reminiscent of the complex’s original architecture, conceived by Myron Hunt. The architects chose to split the project into several smaller buildings to accentuate the human scale and to create a linear "Mediterranean" garden walkway, designed by landscape architect Cheryl Barton. Steven Koblik, president of the foundation, is particularly proud of the 42,000 square foot underground storage area for collections and institutional storage. The Steven S. Koblik Center will also be home to four newly acquired pieces of artwork: the Mutual Savings and Loan mural by mid-century artist Doyle Lane, a mural by Millard Sheets donated by Red H. and Bessie Ranke, Bicentennial Tapestries by Alexander Calder, and Jerusalem Stabile, a red 24-foot-tall iron statue by Alexander Calder.
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When anyone thinks of U.S. immigration in the late 19th and early 20th centuries they picture Ellis Island. But the West Coast's counterpart was the US Immigration Station at Angel Island, a 1910 collection of modest timber buildings located off the coast of Tiburon, just outside San Francisco. Until the end of World War II thousands of immigrants arrived here; most from the far east. And while Ellis Island was no picnic, this was an even harder place. Technically a detention center, its crowded barracks held hundreds of people for up to a year at a time. Thanks to California State Parks' recent $20 million renovation by SF-based Architectural Resources Group and Tom Eliot Fisch, you can now visit. To capture detainees' authentic experiences, the architects left the barracks virtually as they found them (plus a renovated entry stair and support infrastructure and minus the grime and the crowds of huddled masses)— including holes in the walls, peeling paint, and even etchings in the walls in several languages. With the help of exhibit designer Daniel Quan they also recreated life scenes, using artifacts like tables, chairs and clothing that had been in storage. The next phase of work will include a large art installation on the site of the old administration building (to be decided by an international competition) and a new education center, built into the island's former hospital. Explore the project in this slideshow. Click a thumbnail to launch the slideshow. All photos courtesy David Wakely.