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Nectar of the Stacks

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As the world of architecture and environmental graphics continually evolve, every manner of facility imaginable may offer a brave new, visual world. Libraries, often an unfortunate last bastion of dated, mid-century, “modern” architecture, offer a fine tableau for inspirational signage and graphics. Will Bruder + Partners, a Phoenix-based architectural firm, and ASI’s Oklahoma City facility collaborated to develop an innovative identity for the 25,400-sq.-ft. Agave Library, a branch of the Phoenix Library system.

Because of the library’s recessed location behind a shopping center, Bruder and his team decided to provide curb appeal with a 56-ft.-tall, galvanized-steel-channel façade that’s decorated with 28-ft.-tall, lower-case letters that identify the library name. He said, “We wanted to integrate a Western storefront with an element of the 20th Century drive-in. The galvanized steel conveys the building’s style in a straightforward manner.”

The text spans 80 ft. of the façade’s width. ASI’s Josh Livingston said the shop built a full-scale, computer model before creating the graphics on its 48-in. Summa plotter. Because the wall features random gaps between the channels, ASI had to carefully plan the layout. To achieve perfect registration, the shop fabricated the vinyl in 24-in.-wide sections; this approach yielded 80 rolls. To careful navigate the facade’s gaps, installers methodically cut away negative space by hand.

Also, because of harsh Arizona sun, which the façade amplified considerably, installation was performed at night with the aid of spot lamps. The process required 10 evenings.
 

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