Cesar Chavez Library / Line and Space

Cesar Chavez Library / Line and Space

Cesar Chavez Library / Line and Space - Image 2 of 18Cesar Chavez Library / Line and Space - FacadeCesar Chavez Library / Line and Space - Image 4 of 18Cesar Chavez Library / Line and Space - FacadeCesar Chavez Library / Line and Space - More Images+ 13

Text description provided by the architects. Line and Space, LLC was founded in 1978 in Tucson, Arizona by Les Wallach, FAIA, to facilitate the design and building of environmentally sensitive architecture that respects and responds to existing site conditions. Their strive for quiet integration of structure and landscape make for projects that encourage and demonstrate notions of sustainability and environmental stewardship. Line and Space are students of regional influences and favor the deeper meaning of entry sequence, scale, materials, color and form, all of which are important in successful architecture.



Line and Space's design for the Cesar Chavez Regional Library is grounded in the beliefs and sensibilities of the firms manifesto. Designed to accommodate up to 40,000 visitors per month, this new 120,000-volume library for the City of Phoenix is located adjacent to an existing lake in a public park. 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 2008, the Cesar Chavez Library is one of four new regional libraries to be constructed for the City.

Cesar Chavez Library / Line and Space - Waterfront, Coast
© Bill Timmerman

Located within one of the fastest growing areas of Phoenix, the Village of Laveen, and due to the density of nearby housing, the park becomes 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 a space for individual family members to grow into their personal roles within family and society. There are comfortable, specially accommodated interactive and learning areas for children, teens and adults to enjoy reading and other areas of personal growth and exploration.

Library Amenities

Cesar Chavez Library / Line and Space - Windows, Facade
© Bill Timmerman

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

Environmental Design Features

Cesar Chavez Library / Line and Space - Image 10 of 18
© Henry Tom

Site Integration

Cesar Chavez Library / Line and Space - Image 2 of 18
© Bill Timmerman

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.


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.


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.

Natural Daylighting

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

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.

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%.

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. 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.

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Cite: "Cesar Chavez Library / Line and Space" 26 Aug 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/163202/cesar-chavez-library-line-and-space> ISSN 0719-8884

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