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


harmon library, phoenix

Phoenix, AZ

City of Phoenix

12,500 sf / 4.5M / completed May 2009

The facility provides a children’s storyroom and First Five Years/Los Primeros Cinco Años interactive learning space for families with young children, a multi-purpose meeting room for community gatherings as well as library programs, patio spaces, a special “teens only” area with materials just for teens, dedicated study space, WiFi and 34 Internet-accessible public computers and a multi-functional kitchen to service library events.



A gathering place in which the community is enabled to take pride and ownership of their building, Harmon Library is a small library in the heart of an urban park in downtown Phoenix. Over time the diverse neighborhood has integrated the library as a key element within the community; a place to connect for adults, and an important resource for after school working families. Celebrating the wide diversity and demographic of the community, the building is conceived as a Kaleidoscope; a primary linear space containing the common shared functions flanked by discrete age dependent areas. Allowing each to be both independent but maintain a shared experience, the library provides multi-purpose spaces for the vastly different age groups that make-up the clientele.

Framed with a large expanse of saw-tooth glass, the upper ceiling volume is sheathed in perforated aluminum panels, dispersed with colored linear skylights and slot windows that refract the ever changing light throughout the day. Establishing the core reading area, the 25’ high central volume and graphic panels suspend from structural trusses, composing a lyrical play of texture and color reflecting across floor, walls, and furniture. An open floor plate seamlessly transfers patrons throughout the library and augments views to exterior garden courts and the adjacent community park beyond.

Photography: Mark Boisclair