Early in the planning and design phase, Moore Ruble Yudell (MRY) Architects and Planners recognized that the building of a new Main Library called for the integration of public art. Santa Monica Arts Commission began a juried process and, in a field of 54 applicants, chose California artist Carl Cheng.
In a letter, Cheng wrote that "... my thoughts drifted to possibilities of suspended optical lenses that could project small images or patches of color onto the spaces below, heliostats that follow the sun and project light … that would bring the surrounding landscape (ocean, beach) into specific area(s) of the library."
Underwater Canopy is the realization of Cheng's vision. A steel and glass structure measuring 30 feet in diameter, it greets visitors from 11 feet above the ground, hovering over a beautifully landscaped courtyard.
Images of the installation of the Underwater Canopy may be viewed in our Imagine Santa Monica Image Archives.