Wondrous Word Wall
Glimmering in the heat of the Arizona sun, the Wondrous Word Wall greets visitors as they enter the Wheeler Taft Abbett Sr. Public Library. The wall, consisting of three 3 x 6 roll-formed galvanized steel panels, is a tribute to the words and phrases imprinted on the minds of readers everywhere. More than 1,000 words are inscribed in varied fonts and sizes across the panels, entreating the eye to wander across phrases plucked from timeless tomes such as the Bible and Shakespearean literature, and other sources such as Uncle Toms Cabin and Danielle Steele novels-even the words of Dr. Spock. The creator of the Wondrous Word Wall wanted to ensure his work would live on as a timeless piece, unmarred by the unsightly and damaging effects of corrosion. He knew the long life and durability of hot-dip galvanized (HDG) steel would serve to protect the Wall for future generations of visitors. Also, expensive alternatives such as stainless steel made little sense given the economic advantage of galvanizing. Working with such an intricately designed piece of steel, the galvanizer anticipated the need for extra personnel throughout the galvanizing process to guarantee a quality coating. The panels were handled with great care, and they now stand as a lasting tribute to language of all types. The words featured in the piece consist of 74% English, 24% Spanish, and 2% Odham. The HDG steel protects the structure from the damaging effects of the strident Arizona sun, as well as the light condensation that gathers during the night hours. In the evening, the Wall is illuminated by three powerful LED lights. Fuchsia, purple, aqua, yellow, lime, and green rays radiate over the words, stretching black shadows on the ground behind the panels. The words gleam silently through the night a lasting tribute to a library, where words will live on and the steel will be protected for generations.