November 30, 2009
by Canadian Architect
York University has selected Levitt Goodman Architects to develop detailed designs for its competition-winning design for a 26,390-square-foot renovation of York University’s main library on its Keele campus. The “Learning Commons” will provide users with a mix of group study areas that will shift York University’s 40-year-old Scott Library into a progressive learning environment. The $2-million renovation will be the first initiative on the campus specifically designed to reflect York’s pedagogical shift from a teacher-centered approach to active and collaborative learning.
The three-stage selection process began with an invited list of 12 firms. Four shortlisted firms were invited for an interview from which three firms were hired to participate in a two-week design competition. Levitt Goodman was selected for its balance of fresh ideas and proven accountability.
The firm’s winning scheme offers a mix of open and semi-private multipurpose areas designed to promote interaction, collaboration and group study. The first part of the multi-phased initiative will proceed under the direction of Brock James, Levitt Goodman’s partner-in-charge of the poject. The library will remain open during the construction period, which is expected to commence in the spring of 2010, with a projected completion date for the start of the fall semester.
“The concept of a library is changing into a very active public place,” said Brock James. “With this project, York University is making a powerful commitment to its students. We look forward to helping the university to make the library one of the campus’s key learning environments. It will be designed to encourage connections with both colleagues and the wider world. We regard this as a significant opportunity and an exciting design challenge.”
The Scott Library renovation furthers Levitt Goodman Architect’s specialization in library design. The firm’s recent library projects include the Musagetes library at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture, Bridgenorth Library, the five-year multimillion-dollar renovation of the Queens Square Central Branch of the Cambridge Libraries system and the $24.9-million renovation of the Kitchener Public Library (in association with Walter Fedy Partnership and Phillip H. Carter Architect) which will be completed in 2013.