World-renown architect Michael Graves will return to San Juan Capistrano next month to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the San Juan Capistrano Regional Library, one of his earlier designs, by giving a lecture about architecture.
Graves, best known among those who aren’t fans of architecture as a designer of consumer goods for Target, won a competition in 1980-81 to come up with the best design for the library that also follows the Spanish mission style.
“Central to both the style and the library design are the introduction and management of natural light through light monitors, clerestories, arcades and pergolas,” according to Graves’ online portfolio.
The SJC Friends of the Library will invite attendees of Graves’ lecture – which is open to the pubic – to first tour downtown San Juan Capistrano to appreciate Graves’ challenge in designing the library.
“Michael Graves was given the task of designing the library to blend into this historic town, not be its star – the Mission is and always will be,” said Mary DeMers, president of the SJC Friends of the Library. “The library, however, has turned out to be ‘the pearl of San Juan.’
“We will be providing docent-led architectural tours (by horse ‘n buggy) of San Juan’s historic downtown district so the visitors can see the challenge before going to the library itself to see the challenge realized,” she said.
The Nov. 8 lecture will serve as continuing education for the American Institute of Architects, and DeMers expects professionals from all over Southern California to attend. A wine and cheese reception will precede the talk and the public is invited, she said.
Also to commemorate the anniversary, Graves sent a gift to the library, an original done with graphite on paper from his series, “Remembered Landscapes.” DeMers showed it to the City Council Tuesday night.
“We hope San Juan is as excited as we are,” DeMers said. “It means [the world] to this town to have the world-acclaimed architect come back to help us celebrate our library’s 30th birthday.”
Until then, she said volunteers will have their hands full sprucing up the library.
“Folks will be coming from all over and we want to put San Juan Capistrano in a good stead in showing off this magnificent icon we are lucky enough to have in our back yard so the rest of Southern California, who may not have yet have seen it, can appreciate it as much as we do.