Sunday, October 30, 2011

Cabazon Library (1958, John Porter Clark) R.I.P

Cabazon Library (1958, John Porter Clark)
50171 Ramona Street
Cabazon, CA

A friend recently alerted me to the proposed demolition of this extraordinary little gem of a Library Building by John Porter Clark. Built in 1958, when Clark was practicing as a sole proprietor, it bears a strong resemblance to the small, simple, early houses of Clark & Frey. Of post and beam construction with lots of glass walls, it is a simple building, flat roofed and rectangular in plan, with a single wall plane extending into open space. The building has retained a high degree of integrity. Observable changes include the replacement of two out of three large trimless glazed openings on the principal façade with conventional windows framed in natural aluminum. In an apparent - but unnecessary - attempt to “improve” the building’s appearance, murals have been painted on the front façade’s metal paneled walls. Fortunately, these could be removed.

A brief tour of the town reveals that this is unquestionably the best building in this sad little town, and while I can understand that the Banning Library has chosen to close the largely unused building, it still seems to me that the building should be mothballed until someone buys it and adapts it for a new use.

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