Field Trip: The Naughty Book Prison & the Hedgpeth Hills

One of the long list of reasons why my move to Arizona was an act of Providence (or just really good luck) is architecture. Honest to gosh, I had forgot about Phoenix being the epicenter of Mid-century Modernism (by far my favorite modernism.) Sometimes I glance into the distance and realize again how the colors and open space of this area influenced that period. How could you not have a wide, open indoors after so much wide, open outdoors?

agave from leftToday’s trek took me about fifteen miles from my house, up into the swank but accessible suburb of Glendale to the Agave Library. This library was designed by local architect Will Bruder. It’s won a bunch of awards, but when I first saw it in pictures, it struck me as sort of a prison for naughty books. Either that, or an overgrown construction fence.

agave from rightIn person, it’s quite different. While the lettering on the “fence” (which is made up of metal slats) is fading a bit, the overall effect is still clean and “artsy.” (I wonder if this particular choice of materials was to stay within the County’s budget. Bruder & Co. have designed many other far more opulent public buildings. Maybe he was making metal slats agave sidelook as cool as possible.) The narrow windows are not nearly as cold in person. They’re about the same height as a person, so they invite you to look in, or out, I assume.

The library was closed today (Monday), but I will likely head back to look at the inside, which I hear is quite dramatic.

The Secret Tower. Wands & light sabers, take my word for it.

There are also a tower and desert-scaped courtyard that are visible only from inside the library. The tower houses the Children’s Reading Room. My inner kid is sure that’s where they store the magic wands and light sabers, and that’s why it’s secret. Shhhh…



To get to and from the Library, I drove through the Thunderbird Conservation Area, which is a park in the Hedgpeth Hills, right smack in the middle of Glendale. The parking lot was packed, even on a Monday afternoon. I plan to head back during the morning when the light’s better and after I find which moving box holds my sketching stuff. tbirgconsNote to self: wear hiking boots. This is Critter territory.

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