The Jacksonville library trustees commissioned Taylor Hardwick of Hardwick & Lee, Architects, to design the new library in the early 1960s.
Hardwick had moved to Jacksonville in 1949, after graduation from architectural school at the University of Pennsylvania. Among his great influences was noted architect Eero Saarinen, who advised Hardwick to establish a practice in a growing community that would be receptive to new ideas, to give each project its own unique look, and not to be afraid to experiment with new ways of design.
In 1952, after working solo for several years, Hardwick partnered with Mayberry Lee to form Hardwick & Lee, Architects, AIA.
During his 60-year career, Hardwick designed many of the most notable structures in Jacksonville. Among his portfolio are the Friendship Fountain, the memorable Skinner's Dairy drive-thru stores with their flaring roofs, a host of private residences and commercial buildings and several schools.
"Most would agree that the magnum opus of Hardwick's sixty-year career is the Haydon Burns Public Library," writes architectural historian Wayne Wood in the foreword to Taylor Hardwick: 60 Years of Design. It is "an icon of its era," he writes. "The art and architecture of Taylor Hardwick will stand the test of time."
In October 2013, Hardwick toured the then-vacant Haydon Burns Library with staff of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, which had just purchased the building, and architects from KBJ, who would be responsible for the building's transformation into the Jessie Ball duPont Center. His affection for the building was evident as he recounted detail after detail of the project."It think it's wonderful that you want to do this," he said.
Hardwick died September 27, 2014. He was 89.