james richärd, aia principal


kelly bauer, fiida principal



stephen kennedy, aia ncarb principal



1545 west thomas road
phoenix, arizona 85015
p 602 264 1955
f 602 264 9234


desert broom library, phoenix

Phoenix, AZ

City of Phoenix

15,300 sf / 2.9M / Completed November 2004 LEED Certified

The library includes a collection of 61,000 pieces, which will expand to an ultimate collection size of 100,000. Additionally the building houses a meeting room, computer training room, group study, youth/teen space, periodicals living room and staff support spaces.



Borrowing from the symbiotic relationship of a young saguaro cacti and its nurse tree along the arroyos edge, the expansive roof of this branch library creates a shaded microclimate, providing filtered daylight, shelter and a nurturing environment for intellectual growth.

The roof form extends above an adjoining arroyo 60’ out into the natural desert, creating indoor/outdoor transitional spaces providing and a seamless transition into the desert. These outdoor reading spaces are enclosed and shaded by a series of coiled metal screens, following the natural form of the arroyo, and are cooled by building relief air. The roof is penetrated by a series of openings allowing filtered light into the interior and exterior spaces. Each of the openings is treated with a fritted or colored glass creating an ever-changing series of colors and patterns throughout the space, culminating above the children’s area.

Within the framework of the roof a series of volumes contain the meeting room, information cubes, staff and computer training areas. Mechanical systems are enclosed within these volumes completely eliminating ductwork and allowing for indirect lighting throughout. Above each of the primary service points within the building “Digital Information Cubes” display ever changing representations of digital information which can be seen from the exterior during the evening.

Photography: Bill Timmerman