Albuquerque’s Main Library takes steps to protect the building’s style

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The city of Albuquerque is working to preserve the original look of its main library downtown. The library was built in the mid-’70s and leaders have taken another step to protect what makes up the building’s style inside and out – known as brutalist architecture.


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In 2020, councilors signed off on declaring the library as a city landmark. Library Director Dean Smith shares, “When the building was listed as a city landmark in 2020, that was just sort of the first step in that process. The second step in that process was to define what are the critical elements of the building that make it historic.”

Earlier this month, a request was made to the environmental planning commission to specify what significant elements make up the building. then the board approves those items. Smith says, “It’s very satisfying to know that the building will now be protected in perpetuity for everybody to enjoy for future generations.”

Officials say they do not plan on adding anything to the building at this point and the request was a way to add another layer of protection to what defines the library. Smith explains, “Certain pieces of furniture are now protected; they cannot be removed from the building and certain elements of the building like the ceiling and the light fixtures cannot be changed without approval.”

More of those critical elements include the concrete work, the sign out in front of the building, and wood paneling. The library’s city landmark status also opens up possible funding for restoration work on the building.

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