Toronto Public Library reveals Indigenous-focused library design

Perkins&Will and Smoke Architecture's design celebrates Indigenous values of living on the land, sharing gifts of knowledge, and supporting creativity.

The Toronto Public Library, along with Perkins&Will and Smoke Architecture, have revealed the design for the redevelopment of the Dawes Road Library.

Rendering courtesy of Perkins&Will and Smoke Architecture

According to the library, the Dawes Road Library is slated to become a hallmark building that celebrates Indigenous values of living on the land, sharing gifts of knowledge, and supporting creativity.

The library is set to  provide a range of community programming, including a community kitchen and garden, a maker space, a youth drop-in centre, and more: “Created in consultation with Indigenous stakeholders and a diversity of community members, the Dawes Road Library represents a new model for libraries across Canada.”

Rendering courtesy of Perkins&Will and Smoke Architecture

The three-storey building’s façade is inspired by the star blanket, wrapping around the building as a symbol of respect and admiration of everyone in the community. A new roundhouse forms the heart of the building, visible from the streetscape, which will host ceremonies for Indigenous communities and become a central space for knowledge-sharing.

Rendering courtesy of Perkins&Will and Smoke Architecture

The role of libraries is shifting towards building culture, community health and well-being, and content creation. Embedded in this shift, Perkins&Will and Smoke Architecture conducted a robust consultation process with Indigenous groups and community members to inform programming and design elements. Various sustainable technologies and practices were also considered as the library targets zero carbon emissions.

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