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


northwest library, oklahoma city

Oklahoma City, OK

City of Oklahoma

35,000 sf / 8.1M / completed may 2012 / LEED silver

The new library has shelf space for 156,000 item collection. There are meeting rooms, large spaces for children and teens, study areas and over 50 public access computer stations.  The building is also Wi-Fi compatible for wireless Internet access.



Borrowing from Oklahoma’s unique sense of place, the design of the library integrates local iconography in the form of the building. A large horizontal roof plane, constructed of steel wide flanges and bar joist framing is supported by a series of derrick like monitors, creating an iconic roofline set against the surrounding suburban neighborhood. The adjacent native grasslands roll up under the roof creating an elliptical knoll that embraces the library program within. As one moves closer to the building a slice in the earthen form leads to the trellised main building entry.

Once inside the building, large forms transition to organizing elements that create a clear programmatic layout. The underside of the roof plane is skinned with cedar planks that slide above all the interior spaces and continue out to the edge of the exterior overhang. Several derrick forms define space with their steel structure, while others are skinned in glass creating study rooms. The earthen knoll is held back from the program space with board formed concrete walls that rolls up and down along the perimeter building.

For long term flexibility and visual control, the primary reading room is a large singular space. The primary collections are organized around the primary service desk located under a skylight monitor, adjacent to the technology zone and media areas. The diagonal corners are open for passage to the adult lounge, story time and young adult areas. This configuration maximizes visual control of the library and provides for maximum separation of quiet areas from those with more activity. Quiet lounge areas are organized adjacent to the windowed areas along the north and east, maximizing views and access to natural daylight.

An accessible floor system is used under the entire collection and reading room space, both providing flexibility for changing and adapting to library needs, as well as accommodating subfloor mechanical and electrical distribution. Within the overall space, a series of light monitors introduce natural daylight into the building at key locations. Task oriented and stack mounted lighting allow for the flexibly to move portions of the collections or reading areas without detriment to adequate lighting, and eliminating the need for a general level lighting solution. Specialty signage identify each of the zones within the library.


Photography: Joseph Mills