MetroABQ Blog

Mid-Mod Brutalist: The San Pedro Floating Cube Library

A quirky building that's worth a visit sits along a busy residential street on South San Pedro, in the International District. (Probably) built in the late 1950's, the San Pedro Library seems to consist of large rounded-corner rectangular cubes, all floating slightly above the ground. It's a fabulous Mid-Mod Brutalist style building; I'd passed by it dozens of times & never noticed it.

What brought it to my attention is a recent ABQ Museum show that spotlighted photographs of people & places in the MetroABQ. The show, "Let the Sunshine In," featured images from the late 1960's. Among the dozens of excellent images on display, the crazy-looking library stood out. Turns out, it's easy to find.

Above is "San Pedro Branch Library 1969," an image from the show. The photographer, Robert McDonald, clearly had an eye for architecturally interesting buildings.

There was not much information to be found online about the architect of the San Pedro Public Library, & the library itself is closed until further notice. There was a small blurb about it in the MetroABQ Mid-Century Survey 2013, which is the go-to source for local Mid-Mod architecture. It read: "Many of the citys libraries built in the 1950s & 1960s were originally designed with prominent Modernist features. Unfortunately, several of these have undergone considerable architectural modifications since their construction, which have eliminated or masked many of their Modernist features. The survey identified two libraries that still retained their Modernist styling: the Main Library located downtown & the San Pedro branch at 5600 Trumbull Ave. SE."

How does it look fifty plus years later? Below is the San Pedro Library today. It's still rather interesting, albeit a different color & with an ADA addition or two. It has stood the test of time & has been kept up nicely. I'm waiting for the Albuquerque public libraries to open again so I can see what it looks like inside...

Getting there: South of Zuni on San Pedro you are in the South San Pedro Neighborhood. The library is to your right on the corner of Trumbull Ave SE. The entire area sist in District Six, which stretches from almost Downtown, east almost to Four Hills & south to Mesa del Sol. A great map of the District is here.

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