A remnant forest in the historic village of Brooklin, Ontario provides the setting and inspiration for this district Library and Community Centre. Each of the key program areas (library, community centre and gymnasium) are housed in one of three linked structures whose rooflines and simple forms recall the region’s agrarian roots. A sophisticated approach to structural articulation, detailing and materiality transforms a regional inspiration into a sharply articulated response to the design issues of the 21st century. Porches, breezeways and glazed links provide the common space and allow the three shed volumes to frame courtyards and views into the surrounding hardwood forest. The programs are accommodated under graceful steel and timber roofs with mezzanines and interconnected floor spaces allowing visual and spatial interaction between them.
The preservation of specimen hardwoods, the native topography and watershed were critical to the placement of the building footprint. The careful control of run-off and overland flow protects the watershed of Lind Creek at the north end of the site and ensures the proper irrigation and of the surrounding woodshed. Parking lot run off is filtered through bio retention swales and roof water is captured for grey water conveyance
The strategy of articulating the program as a series of discrete elements allows the building to bridge between the fine grained urban fabric of the village and its wooded site. The planimetric arrangement maximizes the enjoyment of the naturalized setting and the penetration of daylight into the building’s program spaces. As a legacy to the Village of Brooklin, the projects sets an example for a considered approach to building siting and form that is highly responsive to the natural and built heritage of the area. The resulting design achieves an intimacy of scale and a variety of spatial experiences rarely achieved in a multi-use facility of its size.