Building: Agave Branch Library
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Architect: Will Bruder & Partners
Structural Engineering: Rudow and Berry
Civil Engineering: Hess Rountree
Electrical/Plumbing Engineer: Bridgers & Paxton Engineers
General Contractor and Construction Manager: Hardison/Downey Contruction Inc.
Will Bruder, a native of Wisconsin, moved to Arizona in 1975 and has since completed many projects in the state . One of his goals in designing the Agave Branch of the Phoenix Central Library was to make it blend into the town, and be a part of the culture.
The false front is an interesting a notable feature of the structure. The display is made up of “galvanized steel hat channels attached to steel I-columns and tube beams” . The display is freestanding. The words Agave are displayed on the steels channels via a reflective coating.
The actual front of the library is somewhat less impressive (right photo). Bruder wanted the building to stand out, yet be a part of the strip mall surroundings . You actually pass a Blimpie gas station which is located right next to the Agave Branch. Bruder worked with a $6.65 million budget for the project, and that budget seems to show on the outside.
Bruder also enjoys to work with light and shadow . This is evident from the false front, as well as many interior features. He “wobbles” (sets them somewhat out of alignment) CMU blocks to create shadows and texture. Bruder says, “‘I like to reinvent the ordinary'” .
The Library is 25,400 square feet, and much of the interior space is 24 feet tall. Bruder wanted to keep the library feeling as open as possible. He uses bookshelves and small steel partitions to define spaces without limiting views.
Bruder also separated a computer training area by the use of transparent, orange, meat-warehouse strips. Area rugs and different floorings are also widely used to separate spaces without physical barriers . Such openness allows visitors to appreciate the space and allows the City of Phoenix to have a small library staff.
Many of the structural elements of the library are exposed. Most notable is the wooden ceiling. Bruder also creates variety with a limited amount of material (mostly glass and concrete) by varying its arrangement throughout the library.
“Will Bruder Partners | Agave Library | Project Portfolio | Architectural Record.” Architecture Design for Architects | Architectural Record. 2010. Web. 14 Sept. 2010. .
Pearson, Clifford A. “Cowboy Modernism.” Architectural Record 198.3 (2010): 66-77. Print.
Futagawa, Yoshio. “A Dialogue with the Editor: Will Bruder.” GA Houses 116 (2010): 44-63. Print.