Winnipeg Centennial Library Addition

ARCHITECT PATKAU ARCHITECTS/LM ARCHITECTURAL GROUP

LOCATION WINNIPEG, MANITOBA

The Winnipeg Centennial Library is a threestorey building that along with a public park occupies a city block. Both library and green space sit on a below-grade parking garage. The connection between library and park is surprisingly limited. The monolithic concrete of the existing building and the disconnection from its setting results in a fortress-like building with introspective interiors.

The addition to the library includes the reorganization and expansion of the collections, the reconfiguration of circulation systems, and the creation of new social spaces as well as the renovation of the existing library. Expanding the library into the park would have destroyed valuable public green space and required costly foundation work in the parking garage. An alternative approach involved extending the library vertically. Fortunately, the building had the structural capacity to accept an additional floor, and most of the added space is contained in a new, light, steel-framed fourth floor covered by a new roof.

Because of severe winter conditions, many buildings in downtown Winnipeg are linked by an interior tunnel and skywalk system. The library is connected to this system by bridges at the second level. A two-storey lobby, created by removing a portion of the second floor, connects the street-level entrance to the library with the skywalk.

From this urban intersection, patrons are drawn towards the park through the building along an interior “street” animated by displays and events. At the park edge, new elevators and a system of stairs and reading terraces tie existing floors to each other and to the new fourth floor. The glazed wall of this multi-storey space opens every level to light, landscape, and the city. All public and collections space is accessible from this route. The compact footprint of the addition maintains maximum park space, and the highly visible interactive terraces generate a radically new identity for the library.

The library program is ordered in strips, in a series of zones that run parallel to the window wall across the long dimension of the space. The five strips order the program of the library in height categories: the first strip is the park; the second strip includes tables, comfortable chairs and casual seating for reading; the third strip includes “low” structures of reference collections, help desks and computer stations; the fourth strip comprises high masses of shelving running in clear sequences; and the fifth strip includes reading rooms, offices, meeting rooms, staff areas, service areas and book-handling access. These strips progress from park to interior, from open to enclosed, from low to high, from areas of greatest public access and interaction to areas of privacy and quiet. This spatial order allows visitors to understand the arrangement of collections and functions whether they approach from the public elevators or from reading terraces.

Pina Petricone: This project skillfully utilizes a multivalent glass veil that masks the eroded face of the existing brutalist concrete library, which is blown open to invite in the adjacent park. Rather than expanding the three-storey building, a fourth floor is cleverly added in order to maintain the minimal footprint and leave unoccupied the valuable adjacent urban green. The economy and simplicity of this gesture interestingly creates a complexity in the interconnectedness of newly programmed spaces where degrees of reflectivity, transparency and opacity render a layered, urban experience.CA

CLIENT CITY OF WINNIPEG LIBRARY SERVICES/CITY OF WINNIPEG PLANNING, PROPERTY, AND DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT

ARCHITECT TEAM PATKAU ARCHITECTS: SAMANTHA HAYES, MAUREEN KWONG, HECTOR LO, IMKE MARON, TOKIMI OTA, JOHN PATKAU, PATRICIA PATKAU, CHRISTIAN SCHULTE, CRAIG SIMMS, YONG SUN, PETER SUTER. LM ARCHITECTURAL GROUP: DAVID KRESSOCK, KEN DUCHNYCZ, ANDREW BRIMBLE, GREG TOMASZEWSKI, LLOYD MYMKO, BRENT MEHYDEN, ROBERT WINSLOW, RON KINASH.

STRUCTURAL CROSIER KILGOUR & PARTNERS LTD.

MECHANICAL SMS ENGINEERING LTD.

ELECTRICAL MCW/AGE CONSULTING PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERS

LANDSCAPE HILDERMAN THOMAS FRANK CRAM

CODE GAGE-BABCOCK AND ASSOCIATES LTD.

ACOUSTIC DANIEL LYZUN ASSOCIATES

CONTRACTOR MAN-SHIELD CONSTRUCTION

AREA 115,000 FT2 (RENOVATION); 45,000 FT2 (ADDITION)

BUDGET $16 M

COMPLETION FALL 2005

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