Palo Verde Library and Maryvale Community Center / Gould Evans and Wendell Burnette Architects

© Bill Timmerman

Designed by Gould Evans in association with Wendell Burnette Architects, the Palo Verde Library and Maryvale Community Center is a multi-use facility that includes a large public library collection area, a 150-seat auditorium for recital, drama and public lectures, and a community center that includes a park, pool, basketball courts, running track, and gym.  The design intention was to discover a way to maintain the existing recreational park all the while providing a building that energized the surrounding community.    The Palo Verde Library and Maryvale Community Center has received numerous awards including a 2009 Honor Award, AIA/ALA National, 2007 National Honor Award, and a 2006 Merit Award, AIA Western Mountain Region.

More photographs and drawings following the break.

Architects: Gould Evans
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Associate Architect: Wendell Burnette Architects
General Contractor: Smith Construction Management
Structural Engineer: Rudow + Berry
Mechanical Engineer: Kunka Engineering
Civil Engineer: WRG Design
Electrical Engineer: Associated Engineering
Landscape Architect: Ten Eyck Landscape Architects
Signage Design: Thinking Caps
Lighting Design: Horton Lees Brogden Lighting Design
Acoustics: Wardin Cockriel Associates
Historian: Nancy Dallett, Projects in the Public Interest
Client: City of Phoenix
Project Area: 43,000 sqf
Project Year: 2006
Photographs: Bill Timmerman

© Bill Timmerman

The design team worked together to meet incredible scheduling and budget parameters. A parking variance and an intergovernmental agreement with the schools to the south saved the large ball field. The explicit intent of the design was to be environmentally responsible, and for the Public Park and its environs to remain the “green” heart of Maryvale. The design team’s ability to deal with the existing park-like conditions and provide a unique building solution for this site and the City’s goals demonstrates the design team’s dedication to finding unique solutions for the circumstances of a given site.

floor plan

This project’s challenges included the need to maintain the existing recreational park, while reinvigorating the area and establishing a renewed civic presence in the community. By designing a building comprised of metal clad blocks that rest on an 8-foot high band of glass, a transparency was created that allows people passing by to interact with the activity inside. The southeast corner of the park is preserved, and is thus transformed into a contemplative park for the library, as well as an unobstructed window into the site. The solid, upper portion of the street volumes are clad in mill-finish stainless steel. This requires 40% less energy to fabricate than ‘finished’ stainless steel and has a unique quality that absorbs light and color more than it reflects them. This quality allows the park to appear as if it figuratively moves through the mass of the building. The building simultaneously reads as bold and quiet, there and not there, while recording the range of light – a true response to our unique Arizona climate.

© Bill Timmerman
site plan

This project demonstrates an approach to site-specific design – the ability of the design team to carefully consider the context of the site from many different scales, and respond to the unique circumstances of climate, views and open space.

© Bill Timmerman

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Cite: "Palo Verde Library and Maryvale Community Center / Gould Evans and Wendell Burnette Architects" 08 Jan 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 May 2015. <>
  • ArchiChavo

    This is a great project. I have been fortunate enough to be learn about it from Wendell, and there is a lot of thought put into it. Phoenix has a lot of great projects, too bad they are very spread apart.