Palo Alto, CA – The rich architectural history of Rinconada Library in Palo Alto is currently on display as the library celebrates its 60th anniversary on Sunday, July 29 from 2-4 p.m. The library on Newell Road was designed by world-renowned architect Edward Durell Stone, whose midcentury modernism designs also include Radio City Music Hall and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., and locally Stanford University Medical Center, as well as Palo Alto City Hall.
Stone’s buildings had popular appeal, making him one of the most sought-after architects during his time with his work spanning four continents. His design hero was Frank Lloyd Wright, who also happened to be his close friend. "It’s fascinating to learn how many buildings around the world Stone has built," senior librarian Rebecca Kohn said.
Two presentations on Stone’s work will be part of the Rinconada Library’s community celebration. Designed in 1958 and previously named the Palo Alto Main Library, Rinconada Library underwent a renovation in 2014 by Group 4 Architecture that included four group study rooms, including a teen zone designed in consultation with teenagers, a new lobby, and the Embarcadero meeting room. Group 4 Architecture firm will be on hand to discuss the upgrade work they did.
Palo Alto City Library associate Robert Skolmen, will present an overview of Stone's life and work, as well as discuss Stone's original design for Rinconada Library. Skolmen first became interested in Stone’s work in 1994 while curating an exhibit for Palo Alto’s Centennial celebration. That research took him to Stone’s hometown of Fayetteville, Arkansas where a papers collection of his work is housed at the University of Arkansas. Skolmen went on to work as a research assistant, helping Stone’s son write a book about his father.
“The library embodies timeless architectural values and provides services used by the public every day. It serves Stone’s original functional design very well,” said Director of Libraries and Community Services Monique leConge Ziesenhenne.
The 60th anniversary coincides with the Palo Alto City Library's Summer Reading Program theme “re:Make Your Community". The celebration of the restoration and modernization of Rinconada Library perfectly exemplifies this theme. The event is free and open to the public.