27 April 2014


I had the idea today, at the very last minute, to do a little sketch of the Burbank Central Library for my boss. Our assistant director, Helen, is retiring after 30+ years, and the library supervisors are taking her to breakfast tomorrow morning, her second-to-last day!

She spent much of her career working in this building, so I thought it would be fun for her to have this. I'm not great at architecture (angles and perspective make me crazy) and this is some challenging architecture! This building is supposed to be a classic example of "Modernist New Formalism"(huh?) from the 1960s, but what that consists of is a LOT of different textures! There are bricks, there are tiles, there are posts, there are roof cut-outs, there are see-through patterned brick thingies, there are honeycomb walls in front of windows…all kind of a nightmare to draw. So rather than try to reproduce it exactly, I followed the example of others and tried to suggest rather than faithfully duplicate...but some of it was not too successful. (Fortunately, there was a LOT of foliage to hide a multitude of shortcomings.)

Still, it gives the flavor of the building, and perhaps Helen will like it as a small memento of her career.

If you want to see a document about this style of architecture, go here. Some lunatic is trying to get this building declared an historic resource. If he had to deal with the ancient plumbing, the noisy air conditioning, the lack of electrical outlets, the dicey elevator, and the horrible lines of sight inside, he might think differently!


  1. What a wonderful gift. I think that your style really suits this - so light and happy!

  2. Great sketch Melliott! You really captured the essence of Burbank Central Library.

    1. Thanks, Patrice. No reaction from Helen--disappointing, but not entirely unexpected.