Tutt Library Wins AIA/ALA Library Building Award

By: Miriam Brown ’21

After its reopening in 2017, Tutt Library became a symbol of Colorado College’s core values: intellectual curiosity, environmental sustainability, innovation, and collaboration. The library’s renovations were so transformational to its relationship with the campus that it is receiving national recognition, as one of six libraries awarded with this year’s American Institute of Architects/American Library Association Library Building Award for the best library architecture and design.

According to Library Director JoAnn Jacoby, Tutt Library was such a competitive candidate in part because it was “built for the block,” designed to maximize flexibility for students. The renovation more than doubled its seating capacity, and rooms throughout the building can transform from a classroom to a conference room to a study room to match the community’s needs. Additionally, technologically rich spaces such as the GIS Lab, DataViz Wall, and Tech Sandbox make it a hot spot for cross-disciplinary collaboration. Today, the library averages around 1,800 visits each day, and 43 percent of faculty report that they visit the library more than before the renovation because of the “open and inviting spaces.”

Tutt Library is also uniquely representative of CC’s sense of place. It reflects the college’s commitment to environmental sustainability, as the largest academic library to be a carbon-neutral, net-zero energy facility. Throughout the building, there are windows and terraces to give visitors a view of Pikes Peak, and the outside of the building is decorated to reference locally mined red sandstone.

“We now have a reimagined library that is as adaptable, nimble, and innovative as our students and that was built to sustain the academic rigor and intensity of CC’s pioneering Block Plan,” says Jacoby. “We got the award, I think, in part because of how well the transformation aligns with our mission and unique identity, so in that sense, the award calls attention not just to this particular building, but what it represents about our community.”