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Hundreds of people attended today’s June 20 Summer solstice at Phoenix Burton Barr Central Library to celebrate the longest day of the year. The event also featured Therapeutic Harp Foundation, pianist Lynne Haeseler, gongs by Jere Friedmann and African drumming by Keith Johnson and Sam Anderson.

Will Bruder spoke on the Great Reading Room’s visual effect of light and shadow at solar noon (12:30.01 p.m.).

The goal was to make the library a destination and landmark in downtown Phoenix.

We were trying to create a timeless and memorable place. Architecture is about creating memories for people. It’s very gratifying to see people still interested in it.

The Great Reading Room’s ceiling features skylights above each of the disconnected pillars. Inside each of the skylights is a clear dot. When solar noon hits, the sunlight will shine directly through the little dots, each positioned at different angles to create the visual effects.

Achieving the visual effects through the solstice and the room’s geometry required precise calculation. That meant meticulously planning where to place the skylight dots so the light spectacle can only occur when the sun’s light hits from a specific angle — like the summer solstice.

Bruder:  “We didn’t want to depend on a computer program, and we didn’t want it to be something that was mechanical.”

The summer solstice occurs when the sun in the Northern Hemisphere is at its farthest distance from the equator. Following are photos captured at today’s event.