Riverside, California’s long-delayed Main Library redevelopment plan is showing signs of life, as a new design proposal by Los Angeles–based architects Johnson Favaro has come to light and begun a public vetting process. The proposal calls for a three-story, 35,000-square-foot library to be located at the site of the city’s former Greyhound bus terminal. Renderings for the $40 million project depict a proud structure raised on a set of piers that frame a generous covered outdoor breezeway at the base of the building. The building's lower levels are occupied by a local history archive as well as support functions designed to serve the site's open spaces. Much of the library’s interior volume will be contained within a double-height space located above the breezeway. The structure’s main facade is punctuated by a large oculus that overlooks the street and offers views into the library. The building will also feature a south-facing terrace on the second floor that will be oriented toward nearby mountain views. The Press-Enterprise reports that the interiors will come with stationary bicycle desks that can be used to power electronic devices. The complex will also include a business incubator and a toy and tool lending library. Johnson Favaro’s proposal is planned to take up approximately one-third of the site in order to allow the remaining portions to be developed as a high-rise, mixed use private development sometime in the future. The firm is master planning the remaining portions of the site in preparation for future construction. In a press release, Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey boasted about the planned library’s broad appeal, saying, “Libraries have evolved into information centers that serve everyone from young children checking out their first books to adults who are looking to re-enter the workforce. Riversiders of all ages can look forward to an amazing place that focuses on exploration and innovation.” The project is currently undergoing a public comment period prior to the submission of an environmental impact report. City agencies plan to break ground in 2018 and have the building completed in 2019.
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If all goes according to plan, sometime in early October an enormous boulder will leave a Riverside, California quarry and a couple of weeks later roll onto the grounds of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, to become an installation called Levitated Mass. In 1968, Michael Heizer, the artist behind Levitated Mass, made a drawing of a rock he hoped would one day emerge from the quarry he had been visiting. Decades later in 2007, the boulder he’d been looking for tumbled out of its granite escarpment. The 21½-foot-tall rock came to rest several yards from the quarry face. “It was quarried up top, and they pushed it with 2 bulldozers and a Caterpillar loader 300 feet. That’s how we pulled it off the mountain. But when it became a work of art, they had a big cradle and crane to move it,” remarked Stephen Vander Hart, the head of Stone Valley quarry, who seems both pleased and anxious to see the boulder leave his custody. It has taken nearly five years of fundraising and engineering to work out how to move the rock the 85 miles to Los Angeles. To get from quarry to museum, the 340-ton chunk of granite will be slung on thick cables suspended between two 127-foot-long steel beams and hauled at a snail’s pace by a Kenworth truck in front and an Oshkosh military transport from behind. Each truck is capable of producing 550 to 600 horsepower. The entire rig, front to back, will be 273'-10" inches long. LACMA says the rock is the “largest monolith moved since ancient times," a lofty claim no one could really prove or disprove. Still, toting the 670,000-pound boulder requires Emmert International (the firm building and driving the rig) to construct a transporter consisting of two hollow beams of welded and gusseted T-1 laminated steel. Each beam is roughly 2 feet wide, tapering from 40” up to a height of 6’-9”. The beams, which have been pieced together on site around the boulder, are made up of five sections that will be drawn together by bolts along vertical seams. When closed, the seams push against each other, like the keystone in an arch, becoming stronger because they are in compression. When completed, the beams will be connected by cross members and trusses, forming a 26’-7” wide saddle that will sit on 22 dollies with remote control steering. A total of 196 tires will bear the load. Empty, the rig will weigh nearly a half-million pounds; fully loaded about 1.1 million pounds. It will lumber, by night, at an average speed of five miles per hour. “It’s just a big rock,” said Rick Albrecht, Emmert’s supervisor for the move. “I’ve seen most of the route so far. We’ll do it,” he added flatly.