Take a good look at this striking new library being planned for Billings, MT (pictured at left). Does it look familiar, especially if you take away the snow and squint a little? Yes, this handsome space bears a passing resemblance to the iconic Burton Barr Library in Central Phoenix.
Which should come as no surprise since both are the work of longtime Phoenix Modernist, Will Bruder, who’s quietly become the nation’s go-to architect for landmark libraries and mod museums.
Most recently, Bruder’s been hired (thanks to an anonymous $2M donation) to design this handsome new library in Montana. And now the plans have just been revealed for the first time, with the hopes that local residents will vote to raise the additional $13.4M needed to get the project completed.
And while this rendering certainly resembles his earlier edifice in Phoenix, the new library will actually be quite different. Here in AZ, Bruder says he was inspired by a towering desert mesa. Meanwhile, in Billings this more low-slung, rectilinear space is inspired by a traditional pole barn, “with steel I-beams holding it up and a sloping roof from one end to the other. That roof captures rainwater for irrigation and has nearly 2,000 solar panels, which will provide up to 35 percent of the building’s electricity,” according to the Billings Gazette.
If built, the Billings library will add to Bruder’s impressive collection of stunning public spaces, including the zinc-clad Nevada Museum of Art, and the bold new Agave Public Library in Phoenix (featuring a cactus latilla-like wall pictured at right).
Meanwhile, readers under the age of 25 want to know, “What’s a library?”