Sunrise Mountain Library / richärd+bauer

© Bill Timmerman

The new Sunrise Mountain Library is a replacement for a joint use, public library in a high school that had been in existence for over ten years. The look and feel was institutional, public parking non-existent and the hours insufficient. The community had been very patient and because of this deserved the very best. The City of wanted a building that surpassed community needs, had a wow-factor in design and at the same time was practical and flexible. The Sunrise Mountain Library is a modern full-service regional library with a 100,000-piece collection. The facility utilizes RFID and self-service technology. Library includes adult, teen and youth reading spaces, common areas and multi-use facilities. This community gathering place is warm, inviting and practical. Inspired by the waves off the nearby Lake Pleasant, the nautical theme is reflected throughout the space with whimsical and functional elements. Materials were carefully chosen for its form, flexibility and functionality.

Architect: richärd+bauer
Location: Peoria, , USA
Project Team: James E. Richard (AIA Designer & Principal-in-Charge), Kelly Bauer (FIIDA Project Manager + Design), Stephen Kennedy (AIA, NCARB Project Architect & CA), Ben Perrone (AIA, LEED AP, Project Architect), Andrew Timberg (RA, LEED AP, Senior Staff Architect), Yukiko Corella (Interior Design)
Mechanical and Plumbing Engineer: Kunka Engineering
Electrical Engineer: OMB, Inc.
Structural Engineer: Schneider Structural Engineering
Civil Engineer: PK Kland Consulting Civil Engineers
Landscape Architect: C.F. Shuler
Contractor: Haydon Building Corp
Project Area: 22,000 sqf
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Bill Timmerman, Timmerman Photography, Inc.

© Bill Timmerman

The library boasts several environmentally friendly aspects. The design of the facility, especially the roofline, blends well with the background of mountains in the distance creating a sense of place. The roof’s outer membrane is aluminum which reflects the sun’s rays in the summer months. Run-off from the roofs is managed through an inner wall drainage system that empties directly into retention basins. The exterior panels on the north and south sides were poured on-sight creating savings in shipping. Finally, the glass walls on the east side allow for minimal artificial lighting during the morning hours.

© Bill Timmerman

From the client’s perspective, this building is a testament to an architect listening to the client and then weaving their creative ideas into the clients expectations. Sliding glass walls and shelving on wheels allow for expanded programming space but is aesthetically pleasing when not in use. Glassed in study rooms and gallery entrances make for an almost perfect line of sight anywhere in the main areas. Ample wall space allowed for the City to display an impressive art collection that had been selected with the architect’s assistance.

© Bill Timmerman

Other interior features, furnishing and color palette went beyond client expectations. The public actually comes to the library and stays, something they did not do at the joint use facility. The building emphasizes comfort, durability and is soothing to the eye which makes for the perfect stop to come and read, peruse the Internet, people watch or quietly talk. The new Sunrise Mountain Library is the perfect balance between the needs of architect, client and customer.

© Bill Timmerman
© Bill Timmerman

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Sunrise Mountain Library / richärd+bauer" 25 Apr 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 25 May 2015. <>
  • Lærke

    Reminds me of Oscar Niemeyer..

  • jprati

    This is a very well done work of architecture. Many interesting buildings are not minimal, and many minimal buildings fail to be interesting, but this building has gracefully acheived both.

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