Tank Branch Library & Nature Center|
DWL Architects + Planners, Inc.
2333 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85004
Location: Waddell, Arizona
Date Bid: May 2009 Construction Period: June 2009 to June
Total Square Feet: 29,000 Site: 8.25 acres
Number of Buildings: One.
Building Size: First floor, 29,000; total, 29,000 square feet.
Building Height: First floor, 24’; total, 40’.
Basic Construction Type: 2B,A3/New/Tilt-Up.
Foundation: Cast-in-place, slab-on-grade. Exterior Walls:
Tilt up. Roof: Foam. Floors: Concrete. Interior Walls:
Metal stud drywall.
Projected and/or modeled energy usage: KBTU/SF/yr: 37.8
Structural Engineer: Paragon Structural Design, Inc. - 101 N.
First Avenue, #2600, Phoenix, AZ 85003
General Contractor & Cost Estimator: Mortenson Construction -
3100 W. Ray Road, #101, Chandler, AZ 85226
Mechanical & Electrical Engineer: Energy Systems Design Inc. -
7135 E. Camelback Road, #275, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Solar: Ameresco Solar, LLC - 2202 W. Medtronic Way, #101, Tempe,
With a magnificent backdrop of 4,000-foot peaks, the White Tank Branch
Library & Nature Center is a desert oasis nestled in a rugged landscape
notorious for its severe summer heat and torrential rainstorms. Yet this
public library is found just a few miles from the suburbs of Phoenix, at
the entrance to the largest regional park in Maricopa County. It's an
environmental statement, complete with Nature Center and amphitheater.
A 200 foot-long monolithic concrete wall, diagonally subdivided into
abstract shapes, is colored in three shades of green to match
surrounding Saguaros, Palo Verdes and Mesquite trees. The concrete is
engraved with petroglyphs inspired by those found on nearby boulders.
High in the entry tower window, etched in glass, floats the most unique
petroglyph from this region. Most think it represents a fishing net, but
rumors abound that it may be a depiction of the Earth given to Native
Americans by ancient aliens'a legend that adds to the park's mystique.
Wrapped within this location's lore is a very flexible and functional
29,000-square-foot modern library that provides a sanctuary from the
city and a connection to the natural world.
This project has achieved LEED(R) (Leadership in Energy and
Environmental Design) Platinum certification. It is the first LEED
Platinum certified public library in Arizona, and one of only three in
the entire United States. It also has the distinction of being the only
LEED Platinum certified public library built in a challenging
environment. Part of this accomplishment is attributed to a rooftop
mounted photovoltaic collector system that provides 27% of the power for
the building. Through the project's solar energy generation and energy
efficient design strategies, over $20,000 is saved annually in operating
There are numerous design features that contribute to the large
reduction in energy usage. Natural light pours in through windows that
provide sweeping panoramic views, giving visitors a strong connection
with nature. These windows are special energy efficient, 1-inch dual
pane insulated glazing units with a high-performance Low-E coating.
Sixteen-foot-long vertical concrete shade fins and deep perforated metal
overhangs self-shade the building. Through computer modeling, the design
team analyzed the shading patterns at various times of the year to
optimize the lengths and angles of these projections.
The library's collection of 35,000 items is planned to serve about
49,000 people within a five-mile radius, including campers and cyclists.
The activity room accommodates up to 137 children seated on the floor or
38 adults seated at linear tables. There are four quiet study rooms and
a separate area for teens. The building is Wi-Fi enabled with 44 public
The southeast portion of the building houses the Maricopa County Parks
and Recreation Department's Nature Center, which features a sales area,
information counter and animal habitat room where the public can view
snakes and rodents native to the park. Visitors can access the 25 miles
of hiking trails winding through the park via a trailhead just steps
from the Nature Center.
LEED® Points Achieved 52 Total
Energy & Atmosphere
Materials & Resources
Indoor Environmental Quality 12
Innovation & Design Process 5
Roofing: SWD Urethane
Flooring: Shaw Patcraft.
Curtainwall, Entrances & Storefronts: Arcadia, Inc.
Windows: Arcadia, Solar Gard