The new north Boulder Library has been identified as a need for our community for nearly 30 years and is a primary goal of the 2018 Library Master Plan. Designed by WORKac, the Library will be a showcase, landmark and monument to the possibilities of sustainable and green architecture, and the transformative power of public libraries in Boulder and well beyond.
Preliminary planning for the new north Boulder branch library began in 2018. Outreach to the community began in August 2018 and continued into the design phase in 2019. Construction began in April, 2023. The new north Boulder branch library is expected to open by the middle of 2024.
The City of Boulder signed a contract with Work Architecture Company (WORKac) on Aug. 1, 2018, for architecture consulting services associated with the first phase of work of a proposed new branch library in north Boulder. The contract with WORKac was extended for phase two, which will include the design and construction of the new library.
WORKac was founded in 2003 by Principals Amale Andraos and Dan Wood and is based in New York City. WORKac creates architecture, landscape and master-planning concepts. This firm is committed to sustainability and goes beyond its technical requirements, striving to develop intelligent and shared infrastructures, and a more careful integration between architecture, landscape and ecological systems. WORKac was rated the number one design firm in the US in Architect Magazine’s list of the top 50 architecture firms in 2017, and was the 2016 AIA NYS Firm of the Year. The firm has achieved international acclaim for projects such as the Edible Schoolyard at P.S.216 in Brooklyn – awarded ‘Best Green Design Initiative’ by the NY Municipal Art Society and a Design Citation from the AIA NY State, Kew Gardens Hills Library received a 2018 AIA NY award and a MASterworks Award for Best Civic Amenity, and the Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston, winner of the City of Houston Best College Campus Building and an AIA Houston Merit Award. The RISD Student Center, completed in 2019, recently received a 2021 AIANY Design Award of Merit for its excellence in architectural design.
In addition to leading WORKac, Andraos and Wood are also educators. Andraos is currently Dean of the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University and Wood has held professorships at University of Toronto, Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania, Yale University, Princeton University, Ohio State, UC Berkeley.
In November 2018, the site at the east side of Broadway at Rosewood and stretching between Broadway and 14th Street (4540 Broadway Street) was selected for the new north Boulder branch library. This site is owned by the City of Boulder and offers many benefits. It is a secluded and protected quiet site, surrounded by nature and with expansive views towards the mountains. It will provide generous outdoor spaces and accommodate the full program without requiring any flood mitigation. It is easily accessible and will accommodate both day-to-day traffic and parking as well as parking for special events. It will provide a fully functioning library for years into the future and can be expanded if desired.
Access and parking
One of the key aspects of the on-site analysis was anticipated traffic flow to and through the site and the number of parking spaces required. The intent is to have a neutral impact on adjacent neighborhood parking availability by encouraging multi-modal transportation to the library and by providing adequate on-site parking. The city hired Fox Tuttle Hernandez Transportation Group (FTH) to conduct traffic studies and provide recommendations about the anticipated number of car visits and the number of parking spaces required. Based on the empirical data collected by their study of the Meadow’s and George Reynolds Branch Libraries, FTH recommends 54 vehicles as the peak number accessing either site hourly and a total of 30 parking spaces needed. This estimate aligns with the City of Boulder parking code requirement for a 12,000 sq. ft. building, as outlined in 801.2.1 Off-Street Parking Schedule of the 2015 International Zoning Code.
Accommodation of pedestrian, bike, and public transportation visits are being considered separately.
More information on preliminary site designs including parking plans can be viewed in the Design Concept Presentation [pdf].
The total design and construction cost is $16.1 million. The Community Culture and Safety tax revenues funded $5 million of the project costs. The remainder is coming from other capital funds, library-specific funds, donations and grant money.
Annual Operating Costs
Annual operating costs are estimated at $1 million and will be funded by the operating budget of the Boulder Library District, approved by voters in 2022.