Four Recipients of the 2019 OLA New Library Building Award Announced

The Ontario Library Association (OLA) has announced four recipients of the 2019 Ontario Library Association New Library Building Award. These recipients showcase excellence in architectural design, environmental stewardship, connections with local histories, and serve growing communities.

On July 10, 2019, the award presentation was held at the OLA Annual Institute on the Library as Place event, at the Ottawa Marriott Hotel.

“Newly-built libraries today reflect the strong desire for public places that instil a sense of community pride and are, at the same time, highly flexible and functional spaces,” said Shelagh Paterson, executive director, Ontario Library Association.

Running every third year, the OLA Library Building Award is divided into two alternating categories (Library Architectural and Design Transformation, and New Library Buildings).

This year’s recipients of the distinguished award include:

Brampton Library
Springdale Branch

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From the jury: “The view from the street is intriguing! It raises your curiosity and invites you to explore. Perhaps the most impressive feature of the LEED Gold certified Springdale library is the building’s connection to the local environment and community. The building is situated as close to the street as possible to help reach out to the neighbourhood and offers a stunning new architectural feature to draw residents into this vibrant new facility. A blend of outstanding design and technical expertise.”

Hamilton Public Library
Binbrook Branch
Invizij Architects

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From the jury: “With a nod to the area’s agrarian past, the new Binbrook branch of the Hamilton Public Library artfully combines the town’s rich rural history with contemporary library design to meet the growing needs of Binbrook’s growing population and urban intensification. The restrained palette of materials forms a neutral backdrop allowing the patron to focus on the activities and people within the library. Invizij has done a wonderful job using traditional materials to create a spare but inviting space that will service the needs of Binbrook customers for decades to come.”

Toronto Public Library
Albion Branch
Perkins and Will Canada

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From the jury: “Perhaps the most impressive thing about the Toronto Public Library’s new Albion branch is the community consultation process that preceded the design and construction. The result of that process embodies what a twenty-first century library is as a vibrant centre for community building. The coloured screen that encloses the building provides a ‘fence’ to hold the program together while remaining open and transparent to passers-by. The plaza/parking lot welcomes visitors onto the site, providing them with an oasis separate and different than the surrounding streets. Not one, not two, but three inner courtyards harvest light and bring the natural environment into the building. The overall design welcomes and celebrates the diverse community that the branch is an important part of.”

Vaughan Public Libraries
Civic Centre Resource Library
ZAS Architects + Interiors

Photo Credit: doublespace architectural photography Toronto Montréal Ottawa —

From the jury: “An amazing architectural and geometric engineering achievement! A visually stunning façade that appears to change from transparent to solid as the daylight changes throughout the day. The library is built as a visionary makerspace that provides a much-needed centre for community learning, gathering, creating and celebration. Through the innovative design process, ZAS Architects created impressively wide-open spaces that allow flexibility for library programming and that can be easily redefined without limitations. The result is a cultural destination that inspires creativity, provides a welcoming place to gather and interact, and that has attracted new users enriching community life in the rapidly growing City of Vaughan.”

Jury comments courtesy of the OLA.