Best New Building in the 'Burbs (2005)

Martin Luther King Jr. Library

Old downtown Aurora has gotten pretty rundown over the years -- and that's precisely why the city's officials have put so much time and money into revitalizing it. The centerpiece of their efforts is the new Martin Luther King Jr. Library, a downright glamorous-looking neo-modern building by Michael Brendle that opened last year. The facility, which also houses city offices, is constructed of gray brick accented by big sheets of ethereal blue-tinted glass, with rectangular volumes stepping in and out of the main pavilion. The structure is striking and has become an instant landmark -- but Aurora will need more than that to get this grungy area back on track.

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