The redesigned library at the heart of the century-old John Abbott College campus responds to the programmatic and technological needs of its community by ensuring ample student space with access to high quality, light-filled work spaces. The project reveals the historic architecture of the existing building while reconsidering the spatial and material palette of the complex to create fluid, flexible, and technologically-connected educational spaces.
Students arrive into the restored Grand Reading Room, a luminous collaborative study space into which reference and circulation services are seamlessly woven. Within the reimagined 1960’s wing, the Forum des Échanges contains the transparent and transformable Computing Lab and generous work space. Group Study Rooms are stacked on two stories as a series of glass cubes overlooking the Forum and a stepped Winter Garden opens toward the landscape while leading to an interior garden at mid-level.
A glass volume framed in a copper, the Winter Garden offers views, allows daylight to permeate deep into the building and reveals the activities of the Library to those arriving from the north. An exterior amphitheatre provides members of the larger community access to the library’s community room designed to host activities that draw the College closer to its neighbors.
Three brightly coloured spiral staircases slide along the main axis of the building, and lead students from the ground floor through the Library’s glazed mezzanine bridge to the upper levels, characterised by quiet and concentrated individual study space. The architecture of this upper zone evoke the old historic theatre and promotes a calm and distinct atmosphere for students. Staff functions are dispersed throughout the library, allowing for embedded librarianship a secure learning space.