PORTFOLIO | ART| BOOKS| OTHER | CONTACT
Burton Barr Central Library in Phoenix, Arizona by William Bruder and DWL Architects is one of 15 significant libraries that the city has invested in. It holds 705,000 items and 151 public computers on 5 stories. It opened in 1995.
The library is a lesson in daylighting, with vertical undulating screens above the north entrance. The south entrance celebrates the sun with sunray shafts exploding out. The facades that receive most boiling Arizona sun, the east and west, are shaded with solid rusted steel, but the south allows more space between the blue motorized horizontal shades, with heat-mitigating concrete underneath. Serving spaces are programmed next to these facades, while a central atrium cools the building naturally with a heat stack effect.
The mix of steel, aluminum, concrete, and glass is reflected on the interior with steel and glass elevators, a grand "Crystal Canyon" staircase, and heat mitigating concrete floor slabs and columns. These columns never reach the ceiling, but attach to a network of tensile Buckminster Fuller structure.
On one day a year, summer solstice, sunlight directly shines on the top of these 'candles' in a fantastic display pictured below. These phenomenon is mirrored by low lighting atop the book shelves, and the yellow task lighting on tables. Sunlight also shines down the walls, casting interesting shadows from the tensile cords. This all leaves a great impression on the visitor of environmental cycles and conditions.
The restrooms have caused a buzz, with color-shifting LED lights in translucent walls like a laser show. Also, the clear sound transfer from the restrooms to the hallway have been praised for improving security. The rusting of exterior steel hasn't been pretty as it gets everywhere, and like most motorized shades these have broken down.