The Boulder Library: A Visual Statement of Philosophy

I went to Boulder unplanned. What a place. It’s unvelievably gorgeous and unbelievably wealthy. Everything was seriously considered and built intentionally. It’s like the embodiment of idealized intentional living. I think their public library succintly symbolizes that. The whole place was breathtaking, the way Disney is. Like when you have a good idea and you’re able to do every detail obsessively perfectly.

The library is on a river, lined with trees, there’s a bridge and bicycle path, and parking is 90 minutes free one time a day. The external architecture mirrors the mountain range in geometric form. The landscape leading up to the building is a child wonderland with imaginative structures to climb, paths of softened rubber, and hills that transition into the mouth of the main library. I saw a child literally fall out and roll around on the ground laughing hysterically. Her dad was happy too.In fact, it seemed like everyone there was happy and content. Do you think they were pod people? No matter. Inside the main entrance, a wide curved stairwell that carries you up, with a fountain and statue. Light fills the entire library, which meanders magically on and on to reveal wonder after wonder. It’s like thing after thing of what you want in a community resource.When I studied learning spaces a few years ago, I learned that walking into an exciting space stimulates your brain cells and you become primed to learn just because of how the place presents itself. Things get stirred up. Part of the function is the form itself. It matters how a thing is–I think that’s why apple was / is so big. Make the library a place a person wants to be, and you are bound to attract learners. Also, there are books everywhere, you know, like a library might have. I think this open beehive mountain works the way cathedrals do–light means learning, learning means ascension.

A cafe (free internet everywhere. In fact, the internet is free — and strong — all over downtown Boulder). A used bookstore with Community bulletin board (well stocked, current).

Meeting rooms of various sizes and study rooms (many were available even though many were occupied). Notice the graphics, the rocks on the wall and the graphic representation of rocks throughout the building.



















An enclosed outside garden, take your book outside.Super interesting floors. (you’re looking at me pointing the camera straight down onto a transitional flooring between the cool wierd green stuff and the more traditional carpet. The line demarcated a change of space even though there was no change in space. The floors and furniture changed and the mood from one side of the line to the other was different. How did they do that?) The white thing on the right is a bookshelf.

A professional community gallery space. Current exhibition: local elementary school art.

The view from inside bridges connecting the varied spaces — look out on the river below, or the bike path, or the Boulder Community beehives.


Non quiet spaces for little kids (inside as well as outside play spaces, all connect to learning activities that combine physical and mental stimulation) connects to a space for teens with bean bags and places to stretch out, dance and lounge. This teen space connects to “Seeds” cafe, serving food, beverages and swag. There is a seed library–a former card catalog now full of seeds. There are quiet spaces tucked away in surprising nooks. Interesting images on the walls (relevant and stimulating high quality photographs of historical events like these ladies hiking the canyon in victorian garb) and Map files filled with topos for study.



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