A self-trained American architect residing in Phoenix’s urban desert, Will Bruder, FAIA, has built a reputation for being one of Arizona’s most prized place-makers. For more than 40 years, Bruder has refined his craft with the completion of over 500 commissions ranging from large-scale civic and cultural projects to private residences and multi-family housing.
Trained first as a sculptor with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Bruder pursued the art of building with an architectural apprenticeship under Paolo Soleri and Gunnar Birkerts. In 1974, Bruder opened his first studio in Arizona, Will Bruder Architects, where he still serves as a community-based architect and student mentor, while often participating in a number of visiting chairs and lectures at universities nationwide.
His most notable project is the Burton Barr Central Library; not only has the structure played a significant role in the evolution of downtown Phoenix, but it serves as an exemplar of Bruder’s heightened awareness of movement, materiality and light.
Learn more about Bruder’s design philosophy in the interview above and check out his projects on ArchDaily:
- Sky Arc Residence
- Pond House
- Loloma 5
- Hercules Public Library
- Henkel North American Consumer Products Headquarters
- Jarson Residence
- Agave Library
Starting today, one of Arizona’s most well-known architecture firms will no longer be will bruder+PARTNERS. After a successful 17-year history, the practice has branched into two independent firms with diverse architectural offerings due to a “natural evolution of individual and collective goals relating to firm size, design methodology and management.” Together, the internationally respected firm has created landmark buildings throughout the state, including projects such as the Burton Barr Library and the Agave Library. And now, each will go their separate ways as the firm has split into Will Bruder Architects and WORKSBUREAU.
Continue after the break to learn more about each firm.
The crescent plan of the house derives its form from topography and landscape, embedded in the hillside and similar to the gentle curvature of the Northern California hills. Structures are placed for maximum preservation of native vegetation, including specimen Coast Live Oak and Madrone trees. Several landmark trees become focal points at entry or in foreground views. The simple volumes, clad in pre-weathered pewter-gray zink, are intended to recede into the texture of the landscape.
Approached from its north façade along Whitton Avenue, owners, neighbors and visitors are welcomed to Mezzo through a native desert garden. Site benches and weathered welded wire mesh fences enhance this natural environment and define the exterior spaces of the project. Sandblasted concrete pale green masonry site walls work within this composition to further delineate shared and private areas.
Imbedded in a dramatic rock outcrop overlooking a natural, year-round, swimming hole, the Pond House is a bridge to two unique and disparate ecosystems: the Sonoran Desert and its local riparian microcosm. As a modestly scaled 165 square meter weekend retreat, the Pond House also bridges the metropolitan intensity of Phoenix, thirty miles south, with an idyllic oasis of desert calm and contemplation.
The architecture of Loloma 5 is a thoughtful and sophisticated acknowledgement of the traditional and modern roots of its Old Town Scottsdale context—a place with pride in its false-front, covered boardwalk, and “old west” friendly downtown image. The project creates a live/work environment in the heart of Scottsdale that celebrates both the historic and physical context of the place.
The new Hercules Public Library is conceived as a community gathering place and a functionally efficient vessel of knowledge and discovery. Rooted in the landscape and traditions of the town and region, the library draws from diverse eastern and western cultures—tied to the climate of courtyard missions, Eastern gardens, and Northern California.
Sited on a compact sub-5 acre parcel in a developing urban area of Scottsdale, Arizona, the new Dial/Henkel headquarters will be an innovative collaborative center, completely integrated into its broader context of the Sonoran desert. The building is conceived as a crystalline cloud floating over a desert mesa, a graceful presence at the prominent intersection of Scottsdale Road and the 101 freeway. The four story structure is comprised of two levels of glass curtain wall, environmentally shaded by a double ceramic frit, above two levels clad in aluminum panels, deeply textured plaster, and native Ashfork sandstone.
This house is designed as a vessel of personal discovery for two real estate professionals with an educated passion for modern architecture and their two sons. Gracefully embracing the topographic fold of a desert wash, the house focuses on the northeasterly view of the McDowell Mountains in the distance.
Architect: Will Bruder Architects
Location: Paradise Valley, Arizona, USA
Project Team: Will Bruder, lead design; Eric Weber (project manager), Katherine Hogan, Chris Balzano, Dan Clevenger
Project Area: 4,440 sqf
Project Year: 2007
Photographs: Bill Timmerman
The design of this 25,405 sqf branch library for the City of Phoenix addresses issues of excellence and affordability in sustainable design. Impacted within a Planned Shopping Center in north Phoenix behind a gas station, car wash, fast food restaurant, and supermarket, the Library’s construction and material pallet quietly draws from, and (re)presents, the language of its retail neighbors. Stacked bond concrete masonry units and glass enclose the simple rectangular volume of a hard-trowelled concrete floor with carpeted ‘area rugs’, green sandblasted cmu walls, exposed gang-nail trusses, glu-lam beams, steel pipe columns, and sparingly used painted gyp-board interior partitions.