Text description provided by the architects. 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.
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.
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.
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.