Guelph Public Library Reveals New Look for New Main Building

City of Guelph crews are currently set up at the Baker Street parking lot to look for bodies. The archeological preparation happening now is part of the ground work to redevelop Baker Street for a new residential project and the new main building for the Guelph Public Library. Speaking of that new library, here’s your first look at what the finished library project will look like.

In a media release on Tuesday, the City of Guelph released some images and details from the approved schematic design for the new main library in the Baker District redevelopment. The Library’s board of directors approved the schematic from Diamond Schmitt Architects in July, which are the drawings that show the basic outline for the design of the finished building, but the design must still be further refined and finalized before construction can begin in 2023.

“We’re really impressed by the thoughtful and creative design that Diamond Schmitt Architects have developed for our new Central Library,” said Library CEO Steve Kraft in a statement. “As a Guelphite himself, Duncan Bates has led the design of a building that fits Guelph’s distinctive identity and incorporates the desires of our community as heard throughout the extensive engagement we did. We’re very excited to move onto detailed design and start building this community gathering space.”

“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,” added deputy CAO Jayne Holmes. “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.”

There were three drawings included in the media release, two external views, and an internal view of the first floor. On the outside, the library 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.”

The plan also puts an  emphasis on natural light, as well as “blur[ring] the boundaries between indoor and outdoor space” with transparent walls on the ground floor that will look out on the new plaza, and allow people in the plaza to look in at the library and all the activity going on in the children’s section.

The new library will also have private meeting spaces with connections for audio and video sharing, a cutting-edge makerspace with technology available to all, catering amenities, and space for the Library’s significant archives collection.

“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 Bates, an associate at Diamond Schmitt Architects who’s designing the library. “This new library will provide tremendous social and economic benefits to the broader community of Guelph and the downtown neighbourhood.”

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