Durango Public Library

Durango, Colorado

In 2005, Barker Rinker Seacat and DHM Design were selected to develop a conceptual master plan for the existing Mercy Medical Center site in downtown Durango to refine placement of a new main library and determine long-term use and development of the entire parcel. BRS was then selected as architect for programming and design of the new library. Extensive public workshops were held to build a community vision for the library, resulting in a building program of 42,000 sf.

LocationDurango, Colorado

ClientCity of Durango


CategoryOther, Certified Sustainable

SustainabilityLEED Gold

Square Footage42,000


Durango Public Library incorporates a “promenade,” connecting the entry to the river patio and upstairs mountain overlook while bringing daylight to the interior spaces. Key features include a raised floor system throughout for flexibility, automated book handling system, self check, café and Friends of the Library store, cozy lounge, outside program and reading patios, homework center for youth, Internet access and public meeting spaces.

The library had a chance to add a set of "life cast" masks to their collection by committing to displaying all the pieces with a unifying curvilinear installation. BRS incorporated these faces inside the building and along the "Life Wall" railing on the outdoor area of the library overlooking the Animas River. These casts are created by making a plaster mold of the face or body element and then casting that mold in bronze. There are a total of 40 pieces. All are notable personalities including presidents, musicians, sports figures, scholars, and authors. They are the work of artists Willa Shalit and Dean Ericson. 

The library has received LEED Gold certification, reflecting Durango’s commitment to setting a new standard for sustainability. The library opened its doors to record crowds and has been a welcomed addition to the Durango community.

Awards & Features

  • 2011 New Landmark Library, Library Journal
  • 2007 Top Projects in Colorado, Real Estate and Construction Review

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