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  5. Michael Graves & Associates
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  7. AD Classics: Denver Central Library / Michael Graves & Associates

AD Classics: Denver Central Library / Michael Graves & Associates

AD Classics: Denver Central Library / Michael Graves & Associates
AD Classics: Denver Central Library / Michael Graves & Associates, © Michael Graves
© Michael Graves

© Michael Graves © Michael Graves © Michael Graves © Michael Graves +13

From the architect. Michael Graves, one of the most respected and original minds of post-modern architecture, was commissioned in 1990 to renovate and design an extension to the Denver Central Library. 

© Michael Graves
© Michael Graves

Known for his surreal and “entertainment” architecture; Graves’ implemented traditional post-modern motifs of abstracted classical forms, natural materials, and colors commonly found in past centuries.

© Michael Graves
© Michael Graves

Sitting adjacent to Daniel Libeskind’s Denver Art Museum, the Denver Central Library stands as the 8th largest library in the United States, as well as the largest library between Chicago and Los Angeles, attracting over a million visitors each year.

ground floor plan
ground floor plan

The 405,000 s.f. addition to the existing library allows for the original building designed by Burnham Hoyt in 1956 to maintain its own identity. 

© Michael Graves
© Michael Graves

So much so that Graves’ addition and the original library are two parts in a larger composition that are connected by a three story atrium.  The expansive atrium serves as a new main entrance that becomes the main focal point for visitor orientation and circulation to either wing of the library.

section
section

For a post-modern building, the interior of the library is fairly conservative when it comes to the decorative aesthetics.  Most of the spaces appear as traditional library spaces composed of natural wood evoking a sense of grandeur and extravagance. 

© Michael Graves
© Michael Graves

Only in the reading rooms is there any trace of the post-modern aesthetic.  One begins to understand the abstracted colonnades, vaulting, and colorful painting creating more of a fun learning environment rather than a stark, serious library space.

© Michael Graves
© Michael Graves

The Denver Central Library may be one of the first library’s to function more than just a library.  In addition to the extensive literary collections, the library functions as a community gathering space consisting of multipurpose rooms, meeting facilities, shops, a café, and a special “museum-like” collection on the American West.  

© Michael Graves
© Michael Graves

The Denver Central Library sits affixed in Downtown Denver as not only an academic institution, but as part of a larger cultural epicenter.

© Michael Graves
© Michael Graves
Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: Andrew Kroll. "AD Classics: Denver Central Library / Michael Graves & Associates" 30 Nov 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed . <http://www.archdaily.com/91274/ad-classics-denver-central-library-michael-graves-associates/>
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18 Comments

alexander_strugach · September 04, 2012

Denver Central Library / Michael Graves & Associates #architecture #drawing #art #heritage #cityscape http://t.co/1eC9l1XQ

Qui Mineo · February 29, 2012
Yahya Abudaiah ? · December 14, 2011

???????? ???? ????? ?.???? . @Arch_Faisal @arch_baageel @FaLLmoosh @Aziz_Moh http://t.co/tRWVFrNA http://t.co/EV8bjeKw @a_alshahwan

Andy Marshall · December 02, 2010

AD Classics: Denver Central Library / Michael Graves & Associates http://pulsene.ws/q8N8 #architecture

tuttibubulonis · December 01, 2010

AD Classics: #Denver Central Library / Michael Graves & Associates: © Michael Graves Michael… http://goo.gl/fb/IbUA8

Doug C. · December 01, 2010

I am not sure I can ever forgive Michael Graves comment regarding the proposal for Fosters PA Technology center in New Jersey on a road that is filled with a multitude of ugly commercial manufacturing and warehouse buildings.
" If that is architecture I'd rather not be an architect" Ironic, is it not?

Dustin T · December 02, 2010 01:27 AM

^ *Richard Rogers

Travel Writer · December 01, 2010

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Vincent Peu Duvallon · December 01, 2010
gible · December 01, 2010

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DEZIGN · December 01, 2010

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Architekt R V Scholz · December 01, 2010

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Architecture+Molding · December 01, 2010

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ArchitecturePassion · December 01, 2010

AD Classics: Denver Central Library / Michael Graves & Associates: © Michael GravesMichael Graves, one of... http://tinyurl.com/343ysdv

tuttibubulonis · December 01, 2010

AD Classics: #Denver Central Library / Michael Graves & Associates: © Michael Graves Michael… http://goo.gl/fb/rdbXj

Felipe Lins · December 01, 2010

Denver Central Library no Arch Daily <3 http://bit.ly/flR1gK

arch_related · December 01, 2010

AD Classics: Denver Central Library / Michael Graves & Associates: © Michael GravesMichael Graves, one of the m... http://bit.ly/hnyEUE

Engy · December 01, 2010

AD Classics: Denver Central Library / Michael Graves & Associates via ArchDaily - © Michael ... http://tinyurl.com/2clywql

Erik Joya · December 01, 2010

AD Classics: Denver Central Library / Michael Graves & Associates: © Michael Graves Michael… http://goo.gl/fb/6FPv5

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