Asante Library

  • Prize
    Winner in Architectural Design - Small Architecture
  • Company/Firm
    Richärd | Kennedy Architects
  • Lead Designer
    James Richärd, AIA
  • Design Team
    Laura Nebeker and Nick Nevels
  • Architect
    Richärd | Kennedy Architects
  • Interior Designer
    Kelly Bauer Novak, IIDA
  • Const. Company
    Haydon Building Corp.
  • Photographer Credit
    Roehner Ryan, Inc. and Mark Boisclair Photography
  • Location
    Surprise, Arizona
  • Client
    City of Surprise
  • Project Date

The project consists of a 10,000-square-foot library sited on a twelve-acre park in Surprise, Arizona. Given the context and site set in the park, the design of the library seeks to emulate dappled sunlight and shadow play as one would experience under a tree canopy.

To reduce overall site disturbance, the library is built on an elevated plinth to maintain the required clearance for rainfall collection and act as the foundation for the building to anchor to. The library takes advantage of the site by providing a large open reading room with full height glazing affording views of the park and White Tank Mountain range. Minimal breakout glass study rooms are designed to maintain a visual connection to the outdoors and views beyond.

To temper the solar impact on the glazing, a vertical and horizontal canopy along the eastern, southern, and western elevations became the main design element and concept for the library. The continuity between vertical and horizontal planes, in both exterior and interior applications, creates a dynamic façade of filtered sunlight, shadow play, and an artistic draw back to the tree canopy in the park.

Richärd | Kennedy Architects is a studio-based, integrated architectural and interiors practice focusing primarily on Higher Education, Research, Public and Academic Library design, and
Diplomatic Facilities. The studio was founded in 1996 by architect James Richärd FAIA, and Stephen Kennedy AIA. Each of the principals of the firm was educated at the University of Arizona in the Tucson Sonoran Desert, developing sensitivity to the context of the region and environment. To that end, the firm remains an intimate scale of 25 highly skilled and motivated people.

Other prizes
College of Idaho: Cruzen-Murray Library Awards: • 2022 AIA/ALA Library Building Award • 2021 The Chicago Athenaeum, International Architecture Award • 2019 SEAOA, Merit Award • 2018 AIA Arizona, Honor Award • 2018 AIA Western Mountain Region, Design Excellence Honor Award East Las Vegas Library Awards: Certified LEED Gold • 2020 NAIOP Southern Nevada, Honor Award, Special Use • 2019 AIA Nevada, Citation Award, Built Category • 2019 MUDA Award, Public Places Category • 2019 ULI Placemaking Award, Community Place OBO: Matamoros, Mexico Awards: Certified LEED Gold • 2021 The Chicago Athanaeum, International Architecture Award • 2021 BuildSouth Awards - International • 2021 AIA Northern Virginia: Excellence in Institutional Architecture • 2020 ENR Global Best Projects, Best Government Building Asante Library Awards: Certified LEED Silver • 2022 AIA/ALA, Library Building Awards • 2022 Arizona Forward: Environmental Excellence Award • 2022 RED Awards, Recreation or Public Works Project of the Year • 2021 RED Awards, Merit Award • 2021 The Chicago Athenaeum, International Architecture Award • 2021 SEAOA, Merit Award