The building is designed with reference to the desert slot canyons of northern Arizona and monument valley. Ever-patient threads of water, sculpting and polishing the massive walls, cut these natural sandstone canyons over millennia. The library echoes this powerful natural sequence. The gesture of the building is complemented by its materiality – rusting steel panels ­– which provides a similar intensity and tone of color as the canyon walls. Just as the slot canyons have changed (and continue to change) with time, the surface of the steel panels changes as well. This experience is most prominently felt in the entry/exit sequence. This threshold condition – akin to Frascari’s formal joint – succeeds in “capturing the powerful and unique experience between the compressive stone walls and the ultimate release to the sky above.”[1] As time works away on the canyon, the less dense stone is carved away while the denser stone remains.

arabian library (1)

Image | © Chad Schwartz

[1] This quotation was taken from a project narrative provided by richärd+bauer.