Spruce Heights Library

This branch library was designed to embody the recommendations of the Reframing Library Architecture project. This library is sited in a fictional mature suburb in Edmonton, and is intended to harmonize with that mid-century built environment.

The plan of the library is arranged around a central ‘reading garden’ with a light monitor above for catching the low winter sun. Areas around the building’s periphery including reading and study areas, meeting rooms, a children’s area, a cafe, dense book stacks for the bulk of the branch’s collection, a large hall for community events, and a staff area. The building is designed to allow these areas to change their function in the future if desired, and they are expressed on the facade as many small buildings clustering around the central reading area.

The materiality of the library seeks to evoke the cliffs of the North Saskatchewan river valley, and the building is bermed into the park behind it to create a hill that families can use for tobogganing in the winter. The event hall was designed to appear different from the rest of the building, to announce its role as a community hall and link it to Canadian domestic architecture (as opposed to the flat roofs common in public and commercial buildings). The hall can also be opened to an adjacent field in the summer, allowing parents to keep an eye on their children playing outside while they attend events within the hall.