Many readers will be familiar with the dramatic exterior dome (below) on the $185-million San Diego New Central Library (ENR California 10/10/11 p. 35). But equally impressive is the cathedral-like reading room under the dome (left), which Stephen Whalen recently photographed for the San Diego office of general contractor Turner Construction.

Photographer: Stephen Whalen Photography
Interior of $185-million San Diego New Central Library
Photographer: Stephen Whalen Photography
The iconic exterior dome covers the reading room.

Whalen says a major factor in shooting the space—which is crowned by an orange bowl-shaped fixture—was waiting until late afternoon to capture details outside the window without the light overwhelming the image. Supplemental lighting illuminates library spaces tucked behind the reading area. Whalen says the shoot went smoothly because "spaces that are already interesting to begin with are easier to photograph."

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