Ontario Library Association announces winners of the 2022 New Library Building Awards

New buildings by John MacDonald Architect, Ward99 Architects, and Perkins&Will have won this year's awards.

The Waterloo Public Library’s Eastside Branch and Richmond Hill Public Library’s Oak Ridges Branch have won an Ontario Library Association 2022 New Library Building Award.

The award encourages and showcases excellence in the architectural design and planning of libraries in Ontario. The OLA New Library Building Award highlights projects that were completed and in-use within July 2019 to July 2022.

Designed by Perkins&Will, the 20,000 square foot Oak Ridges Library is located north of Richmond Hill’s downtown core, and introduces a more interactive and inclusive setting for social exchange, collaborative learning, and creative exploration.The library  is configured around two compact floor plates interconnected by a dramatic double height living room space which establishes the social focal point of the library.

“A series of multifunctional break out rooms hosting a digital media lab, computer learning centre, and community program spaces complement the more open collection and study spaces on each floor in addition to dedicated teen and early years zones,” says Perkins&Will. “A seamless integration of technology and automated systems, including self check out and automated book sorter, further enhance flexibility and reinforce the Library’s strong commitment to point of use customer service.”

The Waterloo Public Library’s Eastside Branch was designed in joint venture by John MacDonald Architect Inc. of Kitchener and Ward99 Architects of Vaughan along with Waterloo Public Library and City of Waterloo staff.

Photo credit: Steven Evans

 “The architects delivered on the commitment to a green, nature-inspired facility with the new Eastside Branch of Waterloo Public Library,” writes jury member Darcy Glidden, Manager of Community Libraries, Barrie Public Library. “Thoughtful site placement combined with a striking design and the use of appropriate materials results in a facility that fulfills the community desire for an ‘eco location’. Designing and constructing a building that is awash in natural light enlivens a previously utilitarian recreation complex. I cannot wait to see the range of eco-literacy programming that leverages the Naturespace – the interaction between toddler and teaching beehive is of particular interest.” 

Photo credit: Steven Evans

In addition to holding a collection of about 35,000 books, DVDs and magazines, the accessible one-storey Library contains a soundproof room for activities such as podcasting, a digital room for gaming, space for creative collaboration, two quiet study rooms and sit-down counters with power and USB outlets. It is also home to a fireplace, and a fenced exterior space which connects patrons and programs with the environment.

A recent addition to this outdoor space is a teaching beehive, home to over 7,500 bees. The growing hive will assist Library staff with programs and workshops for people of all ages centred around teamwork, food production and environmental stewardship. Numerous environmental features are present in the Library, including a roof that can support solar panels in the future, and a solar wall that preheats ventilation air during the winter.

Photo credit: Steven Evans