Thier + Curran Architects design North End Free Library in Hamilton

The North End Free Library is open and lending books in Hamilton, Ontario. This tactical urbanism intervention is a “take a book, leave a book” gathering place—a civic gesture and public amenity that blurs the lines between public and private. It is about creating community and celebrating literacy in Hamilton’s waterfront North End neighbourhood.

Designed and financed by Hamilton-based TCA / Thier + Curran Architects Inc., the North End Free Library is a simple bench of ipe slats on a sculpted steel frame and a suspended cedar library box with a cast resin window. Embracing the city’s steelmaking heritage, the steel is unfinished and raw, left with all the mill, tool and fab marks and traces, and then clear-coated. Books are imprinted with a custom stamp, designed by TCA.

With tongue firmly in cheek, TCA principal and lead designer Bill Curran says that “this is a unique new building type—a typology to date addressed only by folk artists, hippies, treehuggers, amateur woodworkers and other ‘granola’ civic-minded ne’er-do-wells. It is time that serious, highbrow, bespoke architecture focuses on this emerging building type, and especially since all the starchitects have ignored it (so far).”

The North End Free Library and Public Bench is dedicated to the citizens of Hamilton’s North End neighbourhood and crafted with love.

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