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Architect Spotlight: Will Bruder

Posted on March 16, 2012

Here at Thingz we LOVE all things contemporary and modern. We go crazy for contemporary furniture, lighting, art and accessories. But what is great contemporary design without a beautiful, modern space where it can come to life? Luckily for Arizonans, we have one of the world’s most talented modern architects right here in the Valley. For nearly forty years, Milwaukee born Architect, Will Bruder has been designing fabulous, modern structures in Arizona and beyond.


Will Bruder

Surprisingly, Bruder originally had no training or formal university education in Architecture. He actually earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in sculpture from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee which should come as no surprise when you see the artistic, sculptural nature of his work. In the late 1960s, he made his way to Arizona to study under visionary architect, Paolo Soleri. He was drawn to Soleri’s radical ideals of sustainability, experimentation and community. During his apprenticeship, he learned much about wood work, metal work and masonry that would serve him throughout his career. In 1974 Bruder opened his own practice and has been following in the footsteps of the great Arizona architects Frank Lloyd Wright and of course, his mentor Paolo Soleri ever since.

Today, Bruder’s firm, Will Bruder and Partners, LTD is one of the most innovative, sought after modern architecture firms in the valley. They continuously push the envelope of modern design, building stunning structures that while unique, remain sensitive to the beauty and fragility of their surroundings. I couldn’t have said it better than willbruer.com itself, which states that Will Bruder and Partners “is a practice that challenges the expected, seeks work that contributes quality to our world and the life of the community and the individual and stimulates intellectual discourse, sensual awareness, and reverence for place”.

Bruder is probably best known around Phoenix for his work on the Burton Barr Central Library seen below. Besides being a stunning work of contemporary architecture it has many features that set it apart as an instant modern classic. I have personally had the pleasure of riding the “Crystal Canyon” – the five story glass and steel elevator and atrium that connects the entire building. It also features a huge one-acre reading room which takes up most of the 5th floor, a Buckminster Fuller tensegrity structure in its roof and motorized louvers on its south face which were intended to help control sun.


Burton Barr Central Library

Of course, Bruder does much more than commercial architecture including many multi-family and single-family homes. One of my personal favorites and one of the most treasured Bruder works is the Hummingbird or Townsend Residence on Mummy Mountain in Paradise Valley.


While we can’t all be privileged enough to live in a Bruder home, Arizona has a wealth of contemporary homes. Let us help you decorate yours at Thingz!

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