In 2001, Mayor Wellington Webb decided to build a project as his legacy to the City of Denver. A new Denver Public Library branch located in Five Points, the historic heart of Denver’s African-American community, would honor the history of African-Americans in the Rocky Mountain West. This historic commission had several goals: create a culturally important building that would be of its time, fit comfortably yet respectfully into a historic context, serve as a gateway to the redeveloping Five Points neighborhood, and integrate art seamlessly into its design. The result: a nationally recognized, award-winning building that has become an icon for the region’s African-American community and a highly popular event venue, generating much-needed funds for the Denver Public Library.
This Library’s unique service model combines a public library, a research library with space for a visiting Fellow, art gallery, museum and event/community center. The galleries, used for display as well as circulation, lead to a dramatic staircase ascending three stories with beautiful views of downtown Denver, signifying the achievements of African-Americans in the Denver community and beyond.
The Blair-Caldwell Library has quickly become a recognized landmark in Five Points, anchoring an urban renaissance in the surrounding neighborhood. Mayor Webb’s legacy recently celebrated its 10th anniversary.
The building that you have designed is a beautiful, useful structure...Perhaps even more praiseworthy than the building's design is your diligent navigation of the waters of an astonishingly complex project.
— Rick J. Ashton, City Librarian, Denver Public Library