San Antonio Central Library

600 Soledad at Navarro Street
San Antonio, TX

Contributed by Project for Public Spaces

Built by an award-winning architect, this place exemplifies the type of object-focused architecture that is unconnected to anything around it.

Click on any image for slide show

For more images of San Antonio Central Library or other places, try searching our Image Collection

Why It Doesn't Work

Why, of all buildings, should a library be totally isolated from the rest of the community? San Antonio's Library, designed by award-winning architect Ricardo Legorreta Vilchis, excels at setting itself apart from the city - even though it's in the heart of downtown. Its lack of access creates a denigrating human environment for anyone arriving by bus (bus stops are located along a huge blank wall, far from the entrance) or by car (in which case one is simply swallowed up by a garage).

With an aesthetic that might be dubbed "dressed-up Home Depot," this building has no sense as a place in which one can do anything more than drive by blank walls. It's very arrogant in this regard, holding itself apart as a prima donna place whose immediate surroundings are frosty, barren, and downright boring. This lack of connection to other uses or activities downtown is truly a shame, because the inside of this building is apparently very popular with citizens and visitors alike. What a lost opportunity: Think of what downtown San Antonio could be like if those thousands of daily library users had great places to go when they left the building - instead of being funneled back into the parking garage or dismissed at a bad bus stop.

History & Background

The 240,000 square-foot building was designed by Legorreta Arquitectos of Mexico City; it opened in 1995.

Contact Info:

Library phone: 210-207-2500

Related Links:

Back to top of page