Architect Rob Wellington Quigley says it's surreal to see the new Central Library finally being built. He's been on the project for 15 years, and he considers himself a newbie to the political squabbling that hindered progress throughout the years.
“My hair was jet black when I started this project,” Quigley said, lifting his hardhat to show a mop of white hair. “And I'm the new kid on the effort—this project started 35 years ago. That's how long it takes to get something done in San Diego.”
Quigley was addressing a crowd mostly consisting of members of the San Diego Chapter of the American Concrete Institute. They were there to tour the library and admire the concrete, which is made from local sand and has a unique hue.
“We're so lucky in San Diego to have this type of cement that glows like this,” Quigley said, adding that the tour was the first-ever gathering in what would soon be the library's lobby. “As a lot of you know, I love to design with concrete; it's my favorite material for a number of reasons. One is just the thermal mass, which helps me achieve my sustainable goals.”
Quigley said he was happy with how the concrete waffle ceiling had turned out. But rather than go on about the design (Quigley also designed the New Children's Museum), he encouraged me to write about the nice lady who lives in a condo across the street and often bakes cookies for the construction team.
“She looks over and counts the number of guys on the work-site,” Quigley said, nodding at the Snickerdoodle in my hand.