When people drive past the future Arabian Library, they might not notice it.
Architectural drawings for Scottsdale’s newest library were presented to the public this week, revealing a building that blends in with the surrounding desert and McDowell Mountain Ranch community.
The single-story library will feature a "living roof" with native plants growing on top and is designed to resemble a red sandstone mesa.
"The neighborhood is very sensitive to nature so we wanted to come up with something that would not be intrusive," said architect Jim Richard of Phoenix-based Richard and Bauer. "This will look like a stone rising out of the ground."
Plans for the $8.7 million library include a 25,000-square-foot building with a teen center, computer and book areas, public meeting rooms, a large seating area and office space for staff.
Construction of the library is slated to begin in November 2005 and take about two years to complete, project manager Alison Tymkiw said.
Three inches of soil on top of 3 inches of rocks will be placed on the roof and native plants such as sage will be planted.
Other design features include a main entry resembling a narrow slot canyon that opens to a large courtyard.
A trickle of water will run along the bottom of the courtyard walkway.
"It will be a very unique and powerful architectural moment for Scottsdale," Richard said.
The Arabian Library, which opened in 1996 on the campus of Desert Canyon Middle School, will be rebuilt just west of its existing site near McDowell Mountain Ranch Road and 102nd Street.
Scottsdale initially planned to expand the existing Arabian Library but eventually decided to construct its own building.
"This is a much better solution than sharing the site with the school district," library director Rita Hamilton said. "There’s better accessibility and there are less concerns about school security."
The library will have a drive-up service window, story time room, used bookstore and coffee bar.
It will open with 60,000 volumes and plans call for building the collection to 120,000 volumes.
Much of the Arabian Library collection will remain with the Scottsdale Unified School District, senior library coordinator Becky Henry said
"Currently, the Arabian Library has a large children’s collection and the new library will have a much more diverse collection appealing to children, adults and teens," she said.
The Arabian Library is the farthest north and primarily serves McDowell Mountain Ranch and other north Scottsdale neighborhoods.