Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Burton Barr Central Library

The Burton Barr Central Library was opened in 1995 and named to honor a well-known political leader in Arizona. Burton Barr served in the Arizona Legislature as House Majority Leader for 20 years and after retirement devoted several years to raising funds to benefit the Phoenix Central Library.
The design of this library was inspired by Monument Valley (on the Arizona-Utah border) with its curving copper mesa split by a stainless steel canyon and an undulating sandstone wall along it’s west side. I like the building, but I have to admit it doesn’t make me think of Monument Valley. It’s modern exterior (as well as the ultra-modern interior) doesn’t seem to fit with an area of the United States dominated by ancient sandstone monoliths. Still, it is an appealing design. The building has design features that harness the sun, with shade sails that were fashioned by sail makers in Maine. They deflect the heat and glare during the hot season while still letting in light and allowing views of the cityscape and mountains beyond.
The library is another Phoenix Point of Pride.
Interesting fact: About 100,000 pounds of copper cover the exterior walls. That’s equivalent to 17,500,000 pennies! Now there is something to contemplate.
Tomorrow, I’ll show you a view on the inside.


David -- said...

Your photo shows something that competes with the library for noteworthiness -- a cloudy day in Phoenix.
I look forward to you photo of the interior. I recall reading a newspaper article that there are crowds that gather inside the library on the first day of spring and first day of fall because there are special lighting effects that occur around noon on both days, as objects inside are illuminated by the angle of the sun coming through skylights.

Wayne said...

Phoenix should be proud. It's a unique looking building and there aren't enough unique buildings.

Susie of Arabia said...

Hi Sharon -
I just looked at your blog for the first time and you've got some great photos there! I lived in Arizona for many years myself (grew up in Douglas and then lived in Prescott and Tucson for many years) so it's nice to see AZ again through your camera lens! Thanks so much - I'll keep checking back with you.

Ming the Merciless said...

I love the design of the building. Glad to hear the design was well thought out to reflect the regional art.

Mo said...

That's a lot of copper. Is it a public library or a specialist library?