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


mesquite library, phoenix

Phoenix, Arizona

City of Phoenix

18,000 sf / 1.2M / 1998

This project represents a near doubling of a bustling 1978 branch library. The program called for an approximately 10,500 sf addition for expanded collection, new entry, meeting room and upgraded toilet rooms. Extensive renovation of the existing building includes expanded children’s storytime room, staff areas and circulation work areas.



Integrating the building with its man made surroundings was a major design goal of the library. The building was conceived to blend seamlessly with the existing building, effectively creating a single, new library. The design incorporates a continual rhythm of materials and structure, which compliment and contrast the original building. The radial tilt slab concrete walls reflect the primary material of the existing building and serves as a marker for the entry. Weathered galvalume metal is utilized for wall and roof surfaces to contrast with the mass of the concrete walls.

Integrating with the natural environment also plays a critical role in the design of the building. Throughout the structure there are numerous “moments” which bind the building to its natural surroundings. Responding to the natural Phoenix climate an outdoor reading court was created on the West side of the building complete with shade trees and fountain. The interaction of light throughout the building captures the intensity of the southwestern sun while desert colors and ideas of reflection adorn the interior.

Conservation of natural resources ties in closely with the buildings interaction with the natural environment. The outdoor lounge maximizes usable lounge space while limiting the building footprint and its impact on the environment. The building is not only designed to be playful with light but its organizing concept maximizes the benefits of natural daylight with minimal heat gain. Throughout the building materials are expressed in their natural state, demonstrating the intrinsic beauty of each and eliminating the need for additional materials and decorative coatings.

Contribution to environmental awareness is an underlying theme throughout the building. Each component of the building, from glazing and exterior enclosure to mechanical and electrical systems are exposed demonstrating the dynamics of the building environment. The extensive use of natural daylight and views allow the interior of the building to change with the moments of the day, sun, sky and cloud.