Colorado College Tutt Library Expansion and Transformation
Invigorated by Colorado College’s commitment to carbon neutrality, this new library embraced the net-zero mentality from the start. The project follows the planning principles and recommendations set forth in the college’s long range development plan and focuses on open space, flexibility, environmental stewardship, and moments of social and intellectual engagement.
The team’s vision for the facility, originally designed by Walter Netsch in 1961 and expanded in the 1980s, reflects the shifting nature of libraries and the college’s values. The 1980s addition was demolished, returning the adjacent Palmer Quad to its original stature and strengthening its importance on campus. The project has radically transformed the library’s relationship to the campus through new entries, a sheltered courtyard, and three new exterior spaces. Its massing and ample windows reverse the library’s former introspective focus while providing inspiring views of nearby Pikes Peak. Cementing the geographical context is the library’s exterior cladding, which features red panels that reference locally mined red sandstone.
Inside, library services and resources mingle with academic programs and instructional spaces, including an experimental classroom, that easily transform into group study spaces in the evening. The renovation more than doubled the library’s seating capacity, and new spaces support digital scholarship, including a GIS lab and data visualization suite. It also houses a café and spaces that allow the academic experience to traverse the building’s walls. In an effort to support the college’s block schedule, in which one subject is the focus of intense study for three weeks, and the need for immediately accessible materials, the general collection remains within the library in new compact shelving. Special collections are housed in a specially designed vault.
Through increased space, light, and technological innovations, the Tutt Library has been re-established as the intellectual heart of Colorado College’s community.