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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.


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Lawrence W. Cheek