Wednesday, March 20, 2013


I have fallen in love with Scottsdale's libraries.  I have now been to four of the five branches and have taken numerous photos of each.  Of those four, the Civic Center branch is nice but the least distinctive.  (I have been told that the fifth branch is not architecturally interesting.)  I have already done a post on the Mustang branch (which I am going to add to) and will also do a post on the Appaloosa branch.  (For some reason the branches other than the Civic Center branch are named after types of horses.)

I was directed to the Arabian branch, as well as the Appaloosa branch, by a librarian at the Mustang branch, to whom I had indicated my interest in photography.  She told me that the exterior of the Arabian branch was clad in sheets of iron that had been allowed to rust and that it was otherwise architecturally interesting.  Here are a couple of early shots that I took.

Those are windows along the bottom of this last shot.

Frankly, it was difficult to capture the nature of the rusted cladding of the structure, particularly as set against the brilliant sunlight and clear dark blue of the late morning sky.

I also made some attempts at a close-ups of the texture of the metal . . . .

without a great deal of success.  The texture is interesting, but I feel there is insufficient variation in color to make this a stand-alone image.  (This photo is actually set on its side, as the seam in the metal was close to--but not exactly--vertical.  See below.)

What made the building more unusual was that the entryway consisted of a high-walled walkway that made a couple of sharp turns--intended to simulate a slot canyon.

And that it did.

The wall at the beginning of the "canyon" also included an interesting bas-relief sculpture (seen in one of the shots above) that I attempted to capture.

The "slot canyon" opened onto a pleasant courtyard area at the building's entrance that featured another interesting sculpture arrangement.

Here is a detail of part of that.

Another fascinating feature of this building is that none of the walls of the building is vertical; all are set at a slight angle.  Nor is the iron cladding set perpendicularly.  Initially, I tried to align the camera with the walls or the seams of the cladding but finally realized that nothing was either straight up and down or horizontal.  So in the end I just had to accept the lines for what they were.  And that just added to the structure's interest.  This is true of the inside as well as the outside, as the architect seems to have pieced the walls and ceiling together in whatever angles did the job, filling in gaps with glass.

I always ask for permission to take interior photographs, and one of the librarians assured me that it was OK and told me that it was common to see architecture students photographing the interior of this most unusual gem of a building in connection with their studies.

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