During the past 20 or so years, Austin has built many buildings, but few places of consequence. 

The new Austin Central Library is a place of consequence. 

In many ways, it echoes Austin City Hall, also located on West Cesar Chavez Street, but executed on a much more ambitious scale. It carries over the older building’s hued limestone and metal overhangs. But whereas architect Antoine Predock’s city hall — considered edgy when it was completed in 2004 — stretches to mimic the area’s natural surroundings, the Lake Flato and Shepley Bullfinch team’s library absorbs its environment’s lessons and takes them to unheralded heights.

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