Guelph approves design for new public library 

guelph libary

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

The Guelph Public Library Board has approved the schematic design for the new Central Library recently presented by Diamond Schmitt Architects.

The  new library is part of the Baker District redevelopment project, a collaborative partnership between the City of Guelph and Windmill Development Group.

The schematic design is a drawing that illustrates the basic elements and layout of the proposed library design. This design will now be refined and finalized through subsequent design phases.

Bone fragments found under Guelph parking lot during excavation prep being exhumed

“Understanding the vision for the Baker District redevelopment and based on community input we’ve designed a striking, contemporary building that draws on the history of Guelph, and at the same time, catapults us into the future,” said Duncan Bates, an associate at Diamond Schmitt.

library interior

“This new library will provide tremendous social and economic benefits to the broader community of Guelph and the downtown neighbourhood.”

More than two years of community engagement addressed the broad range of needs identified by people in Guelph including naturally lit open and private meeting spaces with connections for audio and video sharing, a cutting-edge makerspace with technology available to all, catering amenities, space for the Library’s significant archives collection and a place for people to gather, celebrate, listen, read and learn.

Exterior design features an expressive roof form that exposes third-floor collections and reading rooms to glare-free natural northern light, and delicate east and west facades that protect outdoor reading terraces while allowing dappled light to enter indoor collection areas.

There’s also a highly transparent ground floor that blurs the boundaries between indoor and outdoor space and brings life to the street-level through a highly animated children’s area which can be seen from the public square and surrounding street network.Detailed design is now underway with construction expected to start in late 2023. More designs will be shared as they are developed.

library second view

“The stunning library design from Diamond Schmitt Architects does well to meet the objectives of excellent urban design, making connections at multiple scales: between people and places, buildings and streets, movement and built form, natural heritage and built environment. The end result here is the creation of a welcoming destination that will add to the vibrancy of our beautiful downtown and our sense of place,” said Jayne Holmes, deputy CAO, infrastructure, development and enterprise services.

The city and Windmill Developments are transforming the existing Baker Street municipal parking lot and adjacent properties into a vibrant district nestled in Guelph’s historic core that will create a renewed area of activity, commerce and civic space for the local community and city.

It will be a publicly accessible integrated civic hub—known as the Baker District—is anchored by a new central Guelph Public Library and includes outdoor urban squares, residential units, commercial space and public parking.


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