The Long Beach/South Bay chapter of the American Institute of Architects has honored AC Martin Partners for its design of the Henry Madden Library at California State University, Fresno.

AC Martin Partners, a Los Angeles-based architectural firm, designed the

$105 million library expansion project, which will be completed in about a year and become the academic campus’ most prominent landmark.

The signature design element is a large elliptical entry tower that evokes Native American forms, using steel, zinc and wood woven together in a style similar to basketry created by the region’s Mono Indians.

“The basket serves as a metaphor for the library, taking from the Mono belief that baskets are containers of knowledge,” AC Martin Partners says of its design’s inspiration.

Internally, the library will cover more than 340,000 square feet and have the capacity to double the Madden collection to 2 million volumes, providing vastly improved services to faculty and students. Design elements in rich earth-tone colors will call to mind the spirit of the region’s natural beauty and many of the fabrics for the furnishings will evoke basket weaving patterns.

In presenting a Devine Detail Award for the library design, the jury praised “the basket metaphor” and the success in incorporating strong design elements into a publicly funded building.

Most of the funding for the library came from Proposition 55, approved by California voters in March 2004. An additional $10 million was donated by the Table Mountain Rancheria, near Fresno, to provide various enhancements to the interior of the library that will help carry out a Native American design theme.

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The Henry Madden Library expansion