21st Century Vision

Denver Central Library Visioning

Denver, CO

A Visioning Plan for the Denver Central Library was commissioned as part of the Library’s strategic plan to evaluate upgrades to the iconic 1994 Michael Graves designed library.  The purpose of the Plan was to establish a six to ten year plan that would guide the renovation of the existing building in order to support providing 21st Century services to the citizens of Denver.

The team led by Humphries Poli Architects as Library Planners collaborated with the design firm of gkkworks whose principal was local architect for the original building supporting the late Michael Graves.

Key to the process was community and staff engagement to assure the library’s physical space would meet the needs of library users.  Through a series of workshops, the Architectural and Executive Team of the library reviewed a number of plan organizational options.  A preferred option was selected to guide the implementation over time.  Key transformative components of this plan included:  establishing an Events Center to accommodate a wide variety of City and Library sponsored events, relocating the Children’s area to facilitate access to outdoor spaces; create a Grand Reading Room immediately accessible from the Library’s primary gathering space; create space dedicated to Teen programs; and establish a new Business and Workforce Development Center.

Additionally, access between floors and program areas would be enhanced with the introduction of ceremonial stairs at the core of the building.  As a means to increase the public’s ability to browse and discover the collection, reading stacks would be lowered and reconfigured to improve accessibility.  Power and data needs would be updated as well as the introduction of sustainable design strategies through all aspects of the renovation to support the City and County of Denver’s policy through conservation of energy, public perception, quality of work environment, and enhanced health experience for users of the library.

Implementation of the Visioning Plan was broken into three phases to allow for a phased funding strategy and continued operation during the renovation, to align with capital funding sources and to serve the public.  Statements of Probable costs were developed using the expertise of a local general contractor familiar with the renovation of major civic spaces for each of the three phases to provide a strong foundation for moving forward.