LocationVaughan, ON, Canada
Other ParticipantsWSP/MMM Group, Scott Torrance Landscape Architect, Aquicon Construction Co. Ltd, Colliers Project Leaders, ZON Engineering Inc.
Text description provided by the architects. Resulting from an extensive visioning process exploring the evolving role of the library in the digital age, The Vaughan Civic Centre Resource Library by ZAS Architects is a visionary maker-space dedicated to community learning, gathering, creating and celebration.
Engaging new users in record numbers since opening, the transformative community centerpiece aims to empower local residents of all ages and demographics, inviting an exploration of learning in the library with the tools and technology of the 21st century.
The library’s ethereal façade and shifting translucent form beacon the community, making a clear statement that this is a meeting place created for the future of the city.
Revealing layers of open interior spaces, the reflective façade appears ever-changing in a constant play of light. It’s complex geometry forms a loop around the central interior courtyard, it’s pattern shifting glass panels representing the overlap of ideas and user groups who gather inside.
Marking a transformation from traditional historic library architecture, flexible spaces create an empowering community amenity, encouraging social interaction and group learning. Akin to a contemporary bookstore, the library’s marketplace café, and open reading area welcome visitors as they enter the immersive environment.
In contrast to the monochromatic exterior façade, colourful furniture and glass animate a fluid series of bright spaces, balancing open meeting areas with places for private study. Dynamic natural lighting acts as a guide throughout the space, directing visitors as they explore the collection.
Prominent and visible from the library’s entrance and also around the building is an anchoring outdoor garden courtyard and symbolic red maple “Tree of Knowledge”. Collaboration spaces, meeting rooms, a ‘teen-only’ lounge, public-access computers, a large study hall, and an extensive children’s activity area form a circle around the courtyard, representing a circle of community.
From the café to the central outdoor courtyard, the vibrant two-storey facility hosts extensive public activity space far beyond the library’s collection of books. Accessible for all, visitors are encouraged to animate ideas within the library’s maker-spaces. Computer modeling and 3D printers, a media suite, sound recording studio, video studio and green screen all creates hands-on opportunities to learn, discover curiosities and hone craft.
Multi-generational and diverse, each space within has been designed to foster learning for wide-ranging user groups. Students from primary school to post-secondary, new Canadian residents, teens, toddlers and parents have all been given spaces to learn and connect with one another in social interaction zones that includes flexible furniture arrangements.
Indicative of a library’s ‘function in –flux’, highly flexible, movable book collection stacks offer flexibility for librarians and visitors to use the space in multiple ways, as the needs of the community evolve daily or annually.
Exposing residents to new possibilities of discovery, public areas are transparent and visually interlinked. Expansive glazing at the street level engages all passing by to join the activity inside. Social zones, lounge seating, and individual study space also surround the perimeter windows, maximizing light and views while creating a direct connection with the neighbourhood beyond.