Arizona State Library Hayden Library Reinvention
Architect: Ayers Saint Gross
Owner: Arizona Board of Regents and Arizona State University
Location: Tempe, AZ
When it opened in 1966, Arizona State University’s Hayden Library housed 600,000 volumes and served a campus population of about 20,000 students. But since that time, the school has undergone tremendous growth and refocused its mission as a comprehensive research university. This project has reinvented a midcentury architectural gem as a facility that reflects the diversity, environmental stewardship, and scholarship of both the university and greater Arizona.
Today, Hayden Library is one of eight libraries in the university’s system that provides services for more than 70,000 on-campus students. Hayden Library itself sees nearly 2 million visitors each year, and the digitization of many of its resources means it is intrinsically linked to scholarly life on campus. For this project, the team carefully renovated the original building, designed by Frederick Weaver and Richard Drover, and inserted more than 30,000 square feet of building infrastructure and flexible space that supports university programming.
The team’s surgical approach to the renovation reestablished Hayden Library as a 21st-century facility that honors its architectural heritage. The outer shell and its unique details were maintained and repurposed. In addition, the library’s angular geometry and relief patterns were reinterpreted as new details that meet current codes and maintain its earlier levels of sophistication.
Today, Hayden Library is one of eight libraries in the university's system that provides services for more than 70,000 on-campus students.
Enhancing campus connectivity was one of the main drivers of the project, and the library is better engaged with ground-level campus malls. A subterranean moat surrounded the original building, but additions over the decades cut off all ground-level entry, leaving the library an opaque warehouse for books. To reconnect the library to the campus, the team infilled a portion of the moat to restore the original design intention, which has established new visual and physical connections and enhanced wayfinding to help draw those on campus into the heart of the library.
Inside, traditionally enclosed programs open on to one another, creating cross-pollination opportunities and a free exchange of ideas. The library’s learning labs and integrated research centers expand its offerings beyond books and into new realms for research and dissemination.
Reuse of the existing building has allowed the library to retain its original character and to keep in place nearly 95% of its most carbon-intensive elements. Coupled with upgraded glazing, lighting, and HVAC systems, the high-performing library reduces energy expenses by nearly 50%. The library is currently tracking LEED Platinum certification.