Drawing Connections to the Community

Carbondale Branch Library

Carbondale, CO

The Carbondale Branch Library, a new 14,000 square foot library set within a residential neighborhood, was created with the intent of achieving a meaningful, organic connection to the community as well as an interconnection to the site that would inform the architectural design.  Like the community, the Carbondale Branch Library exhibits an eclectic mix of art, architecture, music, and recreation.

The design team, which consisted Willis Pember Architects (Architect of Record) and Humphries Poli Architects (Library Architect), conducted a series of meetings to collect and distill information from the surrounding community in an effort to better design a library appropriate to Carbondale.  Initial feedback suggested strong support for “green walls” and public outdoor space, with less enthusiasm expressed for conventional architecture.  Also included in the design process was a “call for entries” outreach to local artists for support in designing the features of the library.

The building, as a whole, transitions from residential to civic scale.  Circulation was developed with the idea of a choreographic meandering that allows the experience of viewing Mount Sopris, a nearby landmark, to be slowly revealed through a field of architectural encounters.   Also inside, patrons are welcome by bi-lingual signage, playful art displays, and a strategic arrangement of shelving and reading space.  Exterior features include a reading porch, an outdoor community table, and public blackboard- all of which are expressions of the community.

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Carbondale interiors
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