San Carlos Library, The Best Place to See a Solar Eclipse

Wednesday, May 30, 2012
(Courtesy Swatt Miers)

(Courtesy Swatt Miers)

With its perforated dome, the twelve-year-old San Carlos (CA) Library, designed by Swatt Miers Architects, turned out to be one of the best places to view the solar eclipse a few weeks ago. The design—which projected thousands of little crescent moons over the main lobby entrance—was inspired by architect George Miers’ wife. “We wanted to bring in light, but a traditional skylight over that type of space would overpower it. Luckily, my wife had this old colander. I built the model with the colander in it,” said Miers.  The architect developed a random pattern for the ceiling and fabricated it with Los Angeles-based Ceilings Plus.

On regular days, the dome filters light and adds dynamism to the main lobby area. That configuration also incidentally makes for a perfect eclipse viewer. During the eclipse thousands of little crescents tilted at different angles relative to the sun appeared on the walls. Thanks to local astronomer Bob Black, the whole city turned up to enjoy heaven’s ephemeral display complete with astronomer and architect in hand to explain the gorgeous celestial phenomenon. For the next annular solar eclipse—in 2121—we’ll have to make plans to drive up there.

(Courtesy Swatt Miers)

(Courtesy Swatt Miers)

(Courtesy Swatt Miers)

(Courtesy Swatt Miers)

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