News

ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST: THE STORY OF WILL BRUDER

Page 3 of 3

ADP was a safe choice; with it, Tucson was guaranteed a competently engineered, mainstream modernist building. That is what it got: a library with the emotional temperature of a glacier, a downtown centerpiece that says nothing about the desert, a building whose interior spaces are hard to remember five minutes after you leave it.

For Phoenix, Bruder is the exact opposite choice: an unpredictable architect with no track record in major public buildings, a guy who loves to play jokes (his photographic art program for Streech includes very artful male nudes in the women's room, and vice versa), and a very small firm (Bruder has eight people, compared with ADP's army of 285. To handle the library, Bruder has associated with DWL Architects-Planners Inc., a larger firm).

Bruder has not yet started designing the building, but he has shaped a concept of it: a "lovable" building, he says, and one that feels at home in a hot, arid environment. Steve Martino will be designing the landscape. Together, Bruder says, "We're going to reintroduce the desert to the people of Phoenix."

Bruder is incapable of giving Phoenix a building as frigid and dull as the new Tucson library, but whether he can produce a great building is, at this point, an open-ended question. He, at least, is suffering no crisis of confidence.

"I'm not intimidated by it," he says. "Architecture is simply a matter of listening to people and solving their problems. This library is no more complicated in programming than a house or a car wash--there's just more of it.

"Everyone has great expectations of me on this project," he adds. "Yet it's about 10 percent of what I expect of myself."

Here is what he expects: "Everybody--laymen and [architectural] professionals alike--talks about the Arizona Biltmore as the touchstone of Phoenix for the last 65 years. I really want the Central Library to be the touchstone for the next 65 years."

Pullquotes running on first page are to be in hel bold; not chelt

Bruder's library will probably be controversial, it may bust the budget, and it could be terrific.

In one Paradise Valley house Bruder designed, he spent half a day installing the cabinet knobs himself. No one else would have done it correctly.

The exposed air-conditioning ducts--a Bruder trademark--weave and writhe on the ceiling like boas with stomach cramps.

Bruder worried that the owner might buy an ordinary blotter for the desk, so he designed a parallelogrammatic one.

"This library is no more complicated in programming than a house or a car wash--there's just more of it," Bruder says.

FALLING SUPERSTARS ON THEIR NEW LP, JAZZ... v6-06-90

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Lawrence W. Cheek