The Library and Academic Resource Center Modernization at Colorado State University Pueblo in Pueblo, Colo., has become one of only 30 buildings in Colorado to earn Platinum-LEED status. As the first and tallest building constructed on the southern Colorado campus in 1965, the rejuvenated facility is now the nexus for campus cultural and academic activity.
The design team, led by Denver’s Bennett Wagner Grody Architects (BWG) in collaboration with Demmon Design Studio, held multiple design charrettes with stakeholders and staff to identify project goals and inspire the emerging design. Because of a significant asbestos abatement project within the library building, most interior spaces were gutted, providing a clean slate for interior re-organization and aesthetic modernization.
In keeping with its goal of securing LEED Platinum, the facility team included an innovative active and passive chilled-beam mechanical system, areas of high-efficiency thermal displacement and high-efficiency, low-volume fresh air distribution with solar pre-heat and energy recovery.
Replacement of major sections of existing precast walls with glass created an entirely new experience from the previously dark building. The addition of windows on all four elevations created a cadence of light and materials suited to a place of learning.
The choice of glass in various sizes, colors and translucence resulted in an ongoing interplay of reflected light and color with the building’s new materials, helping to define spaces and creating its own art form in the process. The predominant use of glass also created an opportunity.
CSU-Pueblo has many first-generation students. The university’s Southern Colorado location helps it celebrate its rich Native American, Spanish and Hispanic heritage. The library is custodian to significant artifacts from the Orman Native American Collection, the Ruben Archuleta Collection and other Native American, Spanish and Hispanic art collections.
Before the renovation, these collections were stored in cramped, environmentally unstable and difficult-to-access spaces. Now for the first time, the public can view samples of these priceless cultural objects, which are demonstrative of Southern Colorado’s history.
The new history gallery is located across from the most technology-intensive and socially interactive spaces on the first floor, creating a subtle connection between the area’s past and its future.