// arthitectural / Architecture / Line and Space, LLC | University of Arizona Poetry Center

Line and Space, LLC | University of Arizona Poetry Center

Architecture Entry - Stacked roof planes inspired by the stanzas of a poem, create a less intense transition from the hot, bright exterior to the air-conditioned interior. They also provide shade for the glass curtain walls and outdoor areas that are designed to be usable year-round.
Photo Credit: Robert Reck

Poetry Center_Conceptual Plan Poetry Center_Conceptual Section

South View - The seeming visual contradiction of opposing angles on the south is rationally derived from response to the needs of interior functions. A Reading Lounge in the glass volume benefits from views down to the Odeum, while the metal volume protects the Center’s Archives and Rare Books. The angles also reflect the tension and balance found in poetry. Photo Credit: Robert Reck

South View – The seeming visual contradiction of opposing angles on the south is rationally derived from response to the needs of interior functions. A Reading Lounge in the glass volume benefits from views down to the Odeum, while the metal volume protects the Center’s Archives and Rare Books. The angles also reflect the tension and balance found in poetry.  Photo Credit: Robert Reck

The first freestanding building on any university campus solely dedicated to celebrating and advancing poetry and literature, the University of Arizona Poetry Center houses one of the most remarkable collections of contemporary poetry in the nation. Nearly 70,000 items are contained in the ever-growing collection, including volumes of poetry, journals, photographs and recordings. It is a landmark facility where the mission of providing an outstanding research collection and meeting place for visitors, writers and readers of poetry can be fulfilled.

Stacks - Users in the space and along the Turning Window Wall benefit from a view into the garden as well as close proximity to the stacks. Photo Credit: Robert Reck

Stacks – Users in the space and along the Turning Window Wall benefit from a view into the garden as well as close proximity to the stacks. Photo Credit: Robert Reck

Seating within the stacks and other areas allows intimacy with the book. Bookshelves were recycled from the University’s surplus and enclosed in new project fabricated maple boxes. Photo Credit: Robert Reck

Seating within the stacks and other areas allows intimacy with the book. Bookshelves were recycled from the University’s surplus and enclosed in new project fabricated maple boxes. Photo Credit: Robert Reck

Staff offices overlook the Collection Area so that security can be maintained through observation. Photo Credit: Henry Tom, AIA, NCARB

Staff offices overlook the Collection Area so that security can be maintained through observation. Photo Credit: Henry Tom, AIA, NCARB

The program includes administrative offices, classrooms, meeting rooms, collection stacks, controlled rare book storage, archives, and the Garden of Inspiration where one can sit and read or write in natural light. To support the Center’s public outreach efforts, a flexible classroom presentation space was designed to accommodate up to 400 people in the Humanities Seminar Room, which features a retractable glass wall that can be fully opened to the shaded outdoor gathering space. Additional areas for comfortable discourse in both small and large groups are provided throughout the building.

The connection between reader and poetry are overarching in the Poetry Center’s design. This connection is refined in the plan of the building which is conceived as a “progression towards solitude.” Progression starts at the west with an active and noisy Humanities Seminar Room whose transparent walls can be opened, allowing flexibility within the shaded transition space, and doubling the seating capacity for larger events. Moving east, public functions dissolve into more intimate spaces within the collection — one finds themselves in the bamboo garden, an outdoor area of solitude and contemplation.

The Odeum, situated in front of the south-facing glass curtain wall, accommodates poetry readings and presentations. Roof overhangs are calculated to provide shade in the summer but allow warming sun in the winter. Photo Credit: Robert Reck

The Odeum, situated in front of the south-facing glass curtain wall, accommodates poetry readings and presentations. Roof overhangs are calculated to provide shade in the summer but allow warming sun in the winter. Photo Credit: Robert Reck

Measures were taken to create a space that was highly functional for staff and inviting to the academic community and public. The shaded transition space welcomes visitors to the building while protecting them from direct sun with a series of roof planes that provide a transition from the hot desert climate to the cool air-conditioned interior. “Sky Holes” puncture the roof to further mediate the transition from the bright exterior to the shaded interior. Additionally, a recessed odeum, or small performance theater, is situated under this transition space, and is designed to be usable year-round providing shade in the summer and warming sun in the winter. On the interior, daylight is brought into the space through large expanses of windows that are protected by broad overhangs to mitigate direct sunlight. Offices on the second floor are designed with glass walls to allow borrowed daylight from the collection area into workspaces and provide security through observation. Light fixtures in the collection stacks and reading areas are lowered to enhance task lighting while keeping ambient daylight levels consistent.

The floor to ceiling Turning Window Wall blurs the distinction between inside and out and gives users a comfortable day-lit space for reading. Photo Credit: Jared Logue

The floor to ceiling Turning Window Wall blurs the distinction between inside and out and gives users a comfortable day-lit space for reading. Photo Credit: Jared Logue

Intimate spaces such as this Reading Lounge are provided throughout the facility for small group discussions, or more solitary contemplation. Situated above the Odeum, the space provides a connection to activities going on below while maintaining privacy. Photo Credit: Robert Reck

Intimate spaces such as this Reading Lounge are provided throughout the facility for small group discussions, or more solitary contemplation. Situated above the Odeum, the space provides a connection to activities going on below while maintaining privacy. Photo Credit: Robert Reck

Visitors to the Center may contemplate in a quiet garden area defined by a Turning Window Wall on one side (which helps to blur the distinction between inside and outside space) and on the other, a masonry screen wall the blocks the low summer sun and noise from the adjacent parking lot. The wall spells out the line from Richard Sheldon, “...you shall learn the art of silence”, in abstracted binary code. Photo Credit: Jared Logue

Visitors to the Center may contemplate in a quiet garden area defined by a Turning Window Wall on one side (which helps to blur the distinction between inside and outside space) and on the other, a masonry screen wall the blocks the low summer sun and noise from the adjacent parking lot. The wall spells out the line from Richard Sheldon, “…you shall learn the art of silence”, in abstracted binary code. Photo Credit: Jared Logue

The west elevation has minimal fenestrations, providing privacy and a barrier from traffic noise, in addition to mitigating direct solar heat gain which reduces demand on the mechanical system. On the east, a “binary wall” shades the building and bamboo garden while celebrating a line from a Richard Shelton poem (“…you shall learn the art of silence.”) with holes punched out in binary code.

Location: University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona
Architect: Line and Space, LLC
Design Team: Les Wallach, FAIA (Lead Designer), Henry Tom, AIA, NCARB (Project Manager), Jennifer DaRos (Project Architect), Colbi Campbell (Project Architect), Johnny Birkinbine, AIA, Manny Kropf, RA, Mike Anglin, RA, LEED AP, Ray Jin, LEED AP
Client: The University of Arizona
Consultants:
Design Collaborations (Landscape Architecture)
Turner Structural Engineering (Structural)
Presidio Engineering (Civil)
Kelly, Wright and Associates (Mechanical)
Wilson Electrical Services, Corp. (Electrical)
General Contractor: Diversified Design and Construction
Building Type: Poetry Center
Building Area: 18,000 square feet
Year Completed: 2007
Credits: All Drawings by Line and Space, LLC
Photography credits: Robert Reck, Jared Logue, Henry Tom, AIA, NCARB
 
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