Awards of Excellence 2004 – Winnipeg Centennial Library

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Patkau Architects/LM Architectural Group

This major renovation and addition to the Winnipeg Centennial Library revitalizes and transforms the existing downtown library building, built in the 1970s. The transformation uses limited resources to maximum effect in the experience and performance of new and existing areas of the library. Changes include the reorganization and expansion of the collection and circulation systems, and the integration of new social spaces, all of which recognize the library as an evolving cultural venue in the city.

The existing building consists largely of independent floors isolated from one another. To foster a greater sense of community within the library, a large terraced reading room interconnecting the existing floors and a new fourth floor are both developed along the park edge of the building. At the top of the terraced reading room, a new lofty public room houses the library’s reference collections. This new extension is perched on the existing library mass, stepping down the terraced reading room to a compact footprint at grade, ensuring minimal disruption of the mature public green space adjacent to the library. The terraces complement adjacent functional spaces on each floor, and provide a convenient and clear new circulation route through the library.

Because the existing library was largely introverted and lacked any strong connection to the exterior, the entire edge of the terraced reading room is glazed, opening up the library to daylight and views of the adjacent park and city streets. This glazed wall allows the life and activity within the library to contribute to the life of the park and street beyond.

Monteyne: Watching the progress of the construction and being very familiar with the original building and its environs, it is certain that this project will have a significantly positive impact on Winnipeg at a civic scale. The architects have managed to build on the core strengths of the existing, while transforming it with elements such as the great stair and glazing wall which will ultimately produce a fine winter city room.

Yarinsky: This renovation is an intelligent design strategy that radically transforms the relationship of the existing building to its site. The stepped, glazed “reading wall” enables the library to participate in the adjacent public park, giving a place of reference within while bringing daylight into the building.

Client: City of Winnipeg Planning Property & Development Department, City of Winnipeg Library Services Division

Architect team: Samantha Hayes, Maureen Kwong, Hector Lo, Imke Maron, Tokimi Ota, John Patkau, Patricia Patkau, Christian Schulte, Craig Simms, Yong Sun, Peter Suter, Andrew Brimble, Ken Duchnycz, Ron Kinash, David Kressock, Brent Mehyden, Lloyd Mymko, Greg Tomaszewski, Robert Winslow

Structural: Crosier Kilgour & Partners Ltd.

Mechanical: SMS Engineering Ltd.

Electrical: MCW/AGE Consulting Professional Engineers

Landscape: Hilderman Thomas Frank Cram

Contractor: Man Shield Construction Inc.

Area: 150,000 ft2

Budget: $14 million

Completion: summer 2005