The City of Phoenix proposed to re-invigorate the heart of Maryvale with an innovativemixed-use building program which required a single building complex; a larger Library /Community Center, 16,000 & 27,000 square feet respectively; that incorporated the existingpublic pool. Maintaining the recreational park guided the site design and building layout. Aparking variance and an intergovernmental agreement with the schools to the south, saved thelarge ball field. The explicit intent of the design was to be environmentally responsible, and forthe Public Park and its environs to remain the green heart of Maryvale.
Through proximity to the street and transparency of program, the library reads as the exercise ofthe mind and the community center, park and pool as the exercise of the body. This mind/bodydialogue resonates between two equally scaled volumes that incorporate the library collectionand gymnasium respectively. Each of these volumes is a clear span, column-free space, top-litand bottom-lit for balanced daylight. An 8 band of externally shaded glass reinforces the visualconnection between the buildings and the community. This allows the activities within eachprogram to be an integral part of the neighborhood, both day and night, while keeping direct sunand heat gain from being a burden on the cooling system. A grid of economical solatubeskylights balances the abundance of light, reducing energy costs while providing pleasing glarefreeday lit spaces that are serving record numbers of patrons.
Taking advantage of the acoustic requirement for the library program, the interior wrapper isdetailed using recycled aspen OSB panels inspired by handmade paper books. Acoustic attentionextends throughout the building complex including the volume of the gym. This allows many ofthe spaces to serve their primary goal but also means they could be used for larger venues suchas performance recitals or public meeting places. It also helps staff maintain a friendly yetcontrolled environment within a high physically energized use group.
In-between the masonry forms on the ball field side of the complex, a light seam of palo-verdegreen color, the buildings namesake, stitches the pool and building programs together in anorth-south circulation spine. Dedicated parking lots are easily accessed along street frontageand are a welcoming garden of dappled shade. This shade is provided by a uniform grove ofpalo-verde trees, reducing the heat island effect, caused by superheating exposed asphalt. Apedestrian promenade of Arizona Ash threads the park, building programs, and associatedparking lots in the east-west direction.
The southeast corner of the park is preserved with its old Phoenix landscape of Alleppo Pines &grass and is thus transformed into a contemplative park for the library, as well as, anunobstructed window into the site. The solid, upper portion of the street volumes are clad in millfinish stainless steel. This finish requires 40% less energy to fabricate than finished stainlesssteel and has a unique quality that absorbs light and color more than it reflects them. This qualityallows the park to appear as if it figuratively moves through the mass of the building. Thebuilding simultaneously reads as bold and quiet, there and not there, while recording the rangeof light, that so epitomizes this place we call the valley.
All seven bidders were under budget with the majority of general contractors bidding all sixadd alternates within the bonded funds for construction ($5.8 million).