The addition to the Sublette County Library serves as a counterpoint to the existing library (also designed by Carney Logan Burke), a vernacular log structure with a nostalgic link to the past. The new building does not emulate the old building, but works in contrast to it, offering an alternative, present-day architectural solution that complements, rather than copies, the original. To minimize disruption of the existing facility, the new building lightly touches the old, creating a shared courtyard, a contemplative space offering sheltered reading and seating areas.
The addition runs parallel to the existing library on a north-south axis, with a new entry on the south side. A very constrained site between the existing library and firehouse created the context for this long, narrow building including a community meeting room, gallery, western collection library, and administrative offices.
The library is the first public building in the country to employ insulated rammed-earth walls for maximum energy efficiency in an extreme high-altitude climate. Rammed earth was selected because of its thermal qualities, local use of material and for its tactile quality. Other sustainable strategies were employed including photovoltaic panels, daylighting systems, a super insulated building enclosure with high performance glazing, selected reclaimed materials, and a high reflectance roof membrane.