Whitby Public Library and Civic Square
Whitby, Ontario, Canada
Square Footage: 56,000
2007, Ontario Library Association: Award of Excellence
The primary design objective for this 50,000 square foot central library is the creation of a dynamic relationship between a grand interior public space and an outdoor urban public space in the form of a new civic square. The design team has adopted a simple “L”-shaped configuration in order to maintain the existing library structure during construction and to create a strong spatial definition for the proposed urban plaza that faces onto a heavy traffic artery.
A three storey, north-facing Library hall opens directly on to the urban square. The new urban square is animated by the concentration of vertical circulation, information commons and displays, all visible through an uninterrupted expanse of glass at the edge of the square.
From the urban square, landscape elements including a green promenade and a linear reflecting pool penetrate the building bringing natural light and colour deep into the building mass. The lower east wing of the building brings the presence of municipal archives, meeting rooms and a café to the existing streetscape. While the building’s south facade presents an abstract composition of masonry planes with a reduced scale to the existing residential neighborhood.