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Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal is the President of IBSystems, the parent company of, MCADCafe, EDACafe.Com, GISCafe.Com, and ShareCG.Com.

Cesar Chavez Library in Phoenix, Arizona by Line and Space, LLC

September 16th, 2011 by Sanjay Gangal

Article source: Line and Space, LLC

Phoenix, now the sixth largest American city, prides itself on providing exceptionally designed libraries to foster communities with information resources and works of the imagination.  Completed January 2007, the Cesar Chavez Library is one of four new regional libraries to be constructed for the City.

View from the Lake (Image Courtesy Bill Timmerman)

  • Architects: Line and Space, LLC
  • Project: Cesar Chavez Library
  • Location: Phoenix, Arizona
  • Completion Date: January 2007
  • Client: City of Phoenix
  • General Contractor: Linthicum Constructors, Inc.

View from Northeast (Image Courtesy Bill Timmerman)

  • Structural Engineer: Caruso Turley Scott
  • Civil Engineer: KPFF Consulting Engineers
  • MEP Engineer: Energy Systems Design
  • Landscape Architect: McGann and Associates
  • Building Area: 25,000 SF
  • Drawing and Photo Credits: All drawings by Line and Space, LLC


West Elevation (Image Courtesy Les Wallach, FAIA)

Located adjacent to an existing lake in a public park, the 25,000 sf, library is designed to serve a projected 40,000 visitors per month within one of the fastest growing areas of Phoenix, the Village of Laveen.  Due to the density of nearby housing, the park is the backyard for the community, and in the same sense, the library was designed to be its living room – an interior place for interaction of families and friends, as well as space for individual family members to “do their own thing.”  There are comfortable special places for children, teens and adults to enjoy reading and other quiet explorations.


South Elevation (Image Courtesy Bill Timmerman)

Library Amenities

•  140,000 volumes (books, CD’s, DVD’s, periodicals)
•  Estimated 750,000 circulating items/year
•  Public computers with internet access
•  Wireless internet access
•  Computer training lab
•  Automated self-checkout service
•  Children’s Area with intimate story room, interactive displays, dedicated computer stations, and homework help area
•  Teen Center, christened “R3” for “Read Relax Rejuvenate” by students at the adjacent local high school, with high-tech amenities such as MP3 listening stations, a plasma-screen TV for DVD viewing in a semi-enclosed lounge, and dedicated computer stations.
•  75-seat community meeting room


Computer Lounge (Image Courtesy Bill Timmerman)

Environmental Design Features

•  Site Integration

Reflecting the geometry of the adjacent lake, the arced form of the library is pushed into an existing earth mound, quietly integrating it into the public parkscape.  The earth provides thermal mass against the building (moderating building temperature, minimizing heating and cooling energy use) in addition to privacy and a barrier from noise emanating from major arterial traffic.


Interior Stacks (Image Courtesy Bill Timmerman)

•  Orientation

Through appropriate orientation, glazing at the north and south of the building allows natural daylight to fill interior space.  The west elevation is designed with no windows to mitigate direct solar heat gain, reducing demand on the mechanical system.  Deep overhangs over all windows protect from the harsh desert summer sun.

Children's Area (Image Courtesy Henry Tom, AIA, NCARB)

•  Shade/Transition

Overhangs extend the usability of outdoor spaces by providing shade over seating and gathering areas as well as a zone of thermal and visual transition from the hot, bright exterior to interior space.  Site paving is kept to a minimum and shaded by major building overhangs and native Palo Verde, reducing the heat island effect.


View from Southeast (Image Courtesy Bill Timmerman)

•  Natural Daylighting

Daylighting in public and staff areas minimizes the use of conventional lighting and provides occupants with a connection to the surrounding outdoors.


Water Harvesting (Image Courtesy Bill Timmerman)

•  Tempered Microclimate

A large overhang coupled with reuse of building exhaust air provides a tempered microclimate in the outdoor reading patio. Adjustable spot diffusers allow users to fine-tune their individual environment increasing the patio’s comfort and usability in Phoenix’s desert climate.


North Overhang (Image Courtesy Bill Timmerman)

•  Materials/Building Life Cycle

Concrete masonry, steel and aluminum were selected for their clean appearance, durability, low maintenance, ability to be recycled and local availability.  These materials coupled with the open plan design allows for long-term flexibility and adaptability over time, increasing the service life of the project.  Minimal use of interior partitions in public areas allows for easy modifications to shelving and furnishing layouts as the Library grows and changes to accommodate future needs.  Total post-consumer or post-industrial recycled content exceeds 10%.


North Elevation (Image Courtesy Bill Timmerman)

•  Water Harvesting

All rainwater from the 37,000 sf roof is collected and stored in the adjacent lake for use in park and landscape irrigation.  This quantity balances the total water used for toilet flushing during the year.  Condensate from mechanical units is also harvested and used for landscape irrigation.



•  Cooling/Heating System

The high-efficiency mechanical system is controlled by an automated energy management system (EMS) and contains no CFC-refrigerants.  All units of the mechanical system are equiped with economizers that take advantage of the cool desert mornings and winters to conserve electricity.



In addition to recycling, carpooling and bicycling programs, the Library will feature an environmental education program that demonstrates how the design of the library responds to its environment.


Water Harvest

The Cesar Chavez Library has been selected from a nationwide search as one of ten American Landmark Libraries by Library Journal, the most respected publication covering the library field, and is one of the American Institute of Architects Committee on the Environment’s (COTE) Top Ten Green Projects for 2008, a national award given annually to projects that exemplify sustainable design and construction.  The project is LEED Silver certified.


Concept Site Plan

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