Summer Solstice At Burton Barr Central Library

Summer Solstice At Burton Barr Central Library


– For thousands of years it has been the
challenge of people to find a way to comfortably live in the desert through
this severe heat. And we created a building that would not just be passive and sustainable, but along with the heat is the awareness of light. And so we devised a series of skylights and solar sort of events based on the sun that
would allow this room be seen in a unique way at the coming of summer. At solar noon, not only does the roof appear to float on lights because of the light coming down both the east and west wall perfectly through these little slots, but if you look up at the columns as everybody in the room was doing, they saw a dagger of light in the candle tip of each one of the columns that hold up the
roof of the Great Reading Room. Architecture’s role in sustainability is
trying to be as responsible to the reality we have that there is global
warming, that this is an issue. We are going to have seven billion people on this planet if we don’t have already and we have to think smartly and intelligently and wisely as a community. And architecture becomes sort of the
armatures for leading a sustainable life. So if we minimize energy consumption, if
we create buildings that work with the climate and the environment rather than
at odds with them, that are not profligate in their waste of energy
and all these things, you know, architecture becomes the way that helps
us balance this whole cycle out. The library will always be the heart of a
democracy. It’s a place that is sort of a contemporary temple and for years
librarians had been the caretakers of knowledge from the first books before
there were printing presses and now librarians are not only the caretakers
of knowledge but they’re the navigators of knowledge as we move to the digital
world. And so everything that you need to sort of have a balanced life that isn’t
one way or the other way and give you great opportunities to discover yourself, your community, your friends, your potentials, can be found in a library. Normally in your own lifetime you don’t get to enjoy the sort of support for
something you’ve created, so it’s been very gratifying. I love public
architecture, I do museums and libraries and I also do homes and other commercial things, but the library is something very close to my heart and very special.

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