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  Foothills Branch Library, Page 49Foothills Branch Library
DWL Architects + Planners, Inc. 
5727 North 7th Street, #300, Phoenix, AZ 85014

Glendale, Arizona
Total Square Feet: 33,650
Construction Period: Aug 1998 to July 1999

Construction Team
General Contractor: Target General, Inc. - 3036 East Greenway Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85032
Structural Engineer: KPFF Consulting Engineers - 2800 North Central Ave., #1010, Phoenix, AZ 85004
Electrical & Mechanical Engineer: LSW Engineers Arizona, Inc. - 2333 West Northern Ave., #9, Phoenix, AZ 85021
Landscape Architect: Jim Wheat Landscape Architect - PO Box 35278, Phoenix, AZ 85069
Cost Estimator: Construction Consultants Southwest - PO Box 22154, Phoenix, AZ 85028

With a design that appears to reach beyond the site and out to the community, the Foothills Branch Library in Glendale, Arizona is as striking as it is functional. It features a magnificent curved copper roof, which extends over the entrance to the library on the east and the book dropoff/pickup window on the west. But the marriage of functionality and design style doesn't end there.

The curved floor plan is a response by DWL designers to the constraints of the site. Rather than have the facility appear cramped between its access road and the neighboring park, a curve was introduced that suited the building to the site as it created a design focus. The curved roof of the exterior is mirrored on the interior. It arches over the circulation desk, from which the floorplan's graceful lines create a space never revealed in its entirety- there is always something more around the bend.

The building's orientation provides shaded daylight at the south end Children's Library, and indirect north light in the Adult Library. East and west facing walls have sections extended out far enough to place north-facing windows within them, thereby reducing heat-producing and potentially book-damaging direct sunlight. Insulated and tinted low-E glass is used throughout the facility, with a light-reducing ceramic frit pattern applied to southern exposure windows.

The library's open feel is a function of it's vaulted and arched ceiling, with fire protection and electrical elements concealed behind metal decking, finished to match the interior walls. King post trusses serve not only structurally, but as a supporting element for suspended light fixtures.

Lighting throughout the library is indirect, to prevent glare on computer screens in both the Adult's and Children's computer centers. However, the wider lighting range of the newer T5 bulbs enables browsers to easily read titles from the top to the bottom of the library stacks.

Public artwork adorns the building. Dale Chihuly's "The Moon and the Stars" is suspended over the main circulation desk. In the Children's Library is an 80-foot mural by Melissa Paxton, as well as Kathy Bradford's "Magic Doors" to the Children's Reading Room.

The building's exterior represents a new southwestern regionalism, exemplified by its use of indigenous materials such as copper, and the basketry weave patterning of its brickwork. The three-color pattern skillfully integrates the building into its desert surroundings, matching the colors of nearby hills, rocks and grasses.

Spectacular mountain views and a landscape plan that integrates the form of the building with its surrounding area complete the picture. The Foothills Library is a facility with a design that fits the community it serves.

Exterior Walls - Aluminum Storefronts: Vistawall; Glass: HGP Industries; Doors: Chase Industries, Inc.; Automatic Doors: Stanley Access Technologies.
Roof - Hatches: Bilco.
Floors - Access: Tate Access Floors; Carpet: Mannington; Resilient: Armstrong; Base: Roppe.
Interior Walls - Overhead Doors: The Cookson Company;Conveyors - Interroll Corp.; Conveyor Frames: ACSI Corp.

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