9º World Congress on Health Information and Libraries

Salvador, Bahia - Brazil, September, 20 to 23 - 2005


4th Regional Coordination Meeting of the VHL

September, 19 to 20 - 2005

Commitment to knowledge: design of a new academic health sciences library

  • Denison Memorial Library, University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center  - USA

Commitment to knowledge:  design of a new academic health sciences library

The University of Colorado (USA) is relocating its entire Health Sciences Center campus to a new site one square mile in size.  This exciting $1.3 billion endeavor embraces new approaches to multi-disciplinary education, allows for the logical clustering of buildings by primary purpose, and provides new facilities for all programs and services.  Clinical buildings began to be operational in 2001, 600,000 square feet of research space was completed in 2004, and six new education buildings will be complete by 2007.  At the very epicenter of the new campus sits a $35 million biomedical library, designed to support education, research and clinical care in a highly electronic and networked environment.  The building is one of three major telecommunication hubs for the campus, reflecting the vast amounts of digital information that flow through its servers. 

The new library features a single, consolidat ed service desk; a demand-driven concentration of public microcomputers on the first floor; a 3D visualization laboratory; dozens of spaces to support the interaction of small groups of learners; and specialized teaching rooms.  The top floor features an art gallery, grand reading room, and surrounds a landscaped terrace open to the sky.  Other architectural elements link the facility to the green spaces and outdoor climate that make Colorado famous.  The shape of the building and extensive use of windows and internal glass walls permit natural light to penetrate to the interior of all floors.  Design and construction have been planned to allow for certification according to principles of Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED).  This paper stresses the design principles used in planning, the unique elements of the building, and options for repurposing parts of the building as needs change over time.