Belmar Library Renovation
Belmar Library Renovation
Public Library Renovation that Supports Inclusivity, Lifelong Learning, and Sustainability
In need of updates and modernisation, Jefferson County Public Library turned to HDR to renovate its Belmar branch in Lakewood, Colorado. The existing Belmar Library, completed in 2000, was a truly unique structure from the outside and in plan.
HDR's previously developed master plan for the Belmar Public Library identified the need to renovate the site and building systems to address deferred maintenance and life cycle needs, a makeover of the interior to update the library service model and evaluate the feasibility of significant building expansion to enhance capacity. Both renovation only and renovation with addition were investigated, and programs were developed for both; however, it was determined that by reorganising the floor plan and departments and relocating the entry and restrooms, an addition would not be necessary to achieve the project goals.
To create a library experience unique to the Lakewood community, our team garnered input and engagement through small group community meetings, staff meetings, and online surveys — allowing each participant a voice and hand in shaping the design. The results from each engagement were then compiled and synthesised to reveal overall pain points and opportunities to drive ideation in concept design. After immersing the community in the current state and getting them to align upon priorities for the project, the team pivoted the discussion to imaginative thinking and dreaming about the future state.
From the community sessions, the guiding principles for the project became clear. The new library needed to promote the following:
- Welcoming Atmosphere
- Convenience Factor
- Connection to Adjacent Park and Outdoors
- Safety and Security
- Promote Lifelong Learning
- Suitability and Resilience
- Enhanced Wayfinding and Organization
Backed by the community and the defined guiding principles, the new direction for the Belmar Public Library builds upon the original building's design while enhancing and fine-tuning it with a new service model to meet current community expectations and desires. The reconfigured floor plan ushers patrons directly from the main entrance to the main service desk — the nexus of the interior crossroads of the library. From this point, patrons can easily access the entire range of public spaces and innovative library services.
The new layout reconfigures quieter areas and more active functions separately with dedicated zones for quiet study, collaboration, reading, and areas for youth and children. Approximately 200 additional square feet of usable space was added with the reconfiguration. In the spirit of openness, the book drop and sorting equipment operation is partly visible from the outside for curious kids and adults — further promoting Belmar Library's guiding principles of encouraging lifelong learning and curiosity.
The previously underutilised plaza at the main entrance, uneven pavement, unsafe conditions for pedestrians and vehicle traffic, as well as building exits that did not meet ADA compliance were all reimagined by the design team. Inspired by the Dutch concept of a "woonerf" or "living street," the site is activated with various seating options and pedestrian-only zones, with various paving materials, colours, tones, and textures to calm traffic and alert drivers to pedestrians. A striking red awning marks the relocated entry — inviting patrons in and providing shelter for those passing through.
Wellness and sustainability were guiding principles established by the stakeholders. While no official certifications were pursued, the design team implemented our sustainable design standards and tracked the project to comply with the AIA 2030 challenge.
- Provided daylight modelling and increased daylight to meet LEED Gold standards with 180-foot Kalwall clerestory and tubular skylights in the staff area, mitigating glare with biophilic patterned film and automatic shades.
- Converted all light fixtures to LED with dimmers and daylight sensors
- Selected materials that were made of recycled content and sourced locally were possible, improved indoor air quality contained biophilic and fractal patterns, or reduced fatigue
- Installed low-flow plumbing fixtures with automatic sensors
- Increased access to quality views of the adjacent park and mountain range
- Provided the ability for comfort migration with a variety of seating arrangements, thermal zones, and acoustic qualities
- Installed four electric vehicle charging stations and enhanced access to the site from the adjacent transit stops
- Installed native plantings that require minimal watering and drip irrigation at the plantings