Phoenix library wins AIA’s 25-year award

 Phoenix library wins AIA’s 25-year award
The Burton Barr Phoenix Central Library by Will Bruder Architects receives American Institute of Architects’ (AIA’s) Twenty-five Year Award.
Photo © Bill Tillerman

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is honoring Burton Barr Phoenix Central Library, Phoenix, Arizona, designed by Will Bruder Architects, with its Twenty-five Year Award.

The award is conferred on a building that has set a precedent for the last 25 to 35 years and continues to set standards of excellence for its architectural design and significance.

Despite its origin as a man-made artifact, the 26,013-m2 (280,000-sf) library, with its weathered-copper clad and sculpturally curved east and west façades, has been likened to the many mesas found throughout Arizona. Rising above the low-slung urban fabric of the residential and commercial neighborhoods surrounding it, the library’s glazed north and south façades provide a contrast and reveal its true nature, during the day and at night, by offering glimpses of its one million volume collection and the energy of its patrons, AIA said in a press release.

Inside, the library was organized simply as a “warehouse of knowledge” across its five levels. Patrons can enter from either the west or east, where stainless steel clefts in the façades mark the entrances. Waiting to greet them are luminous passages sloping to the library’s 27-m (90-ft) tall, skylit atrium as well as three high-speed glass elevators and a translucent grand staircase…

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