San Diego Central Library

It took 18 years to design and construct San Diego Central Library, but the novel building was worth the wait. Stretching up nine stories, the new library contains the city’s first public reading room, multipurpose spaces equipped with technology of every kind, and even a state-of-the-art charter school. Its crown jewel is its cubic, glass reading room, which looks out over San Diego and the nearby bay. A system of eight steel-mesh sail panels curves over the cube, protecting it from the elements and creating the illusion of a grand dome from ground level.