The City of North Vancouver’s 38,000 sq. ft. renovation project expanded the existing 1970’s modern heritage building into a recently vacated library structure, with a new bridging atrium. The design team’s goal was to create a very public building; about the community and for the community. The design is open and transparent. The main link between all departments and the public is found in the 67 metre (220 foot) long atrium space. The design creates a flexible, productive working environment for the diverse services offered to the public in the building, and reinforces the city’s aspirations to showcase their new sustainable city mandate.
The original City Hall and Library precinct, built in 1974, was in desperate need of expansion and rehabilitation. The 2-storey concrete library building was vacated to make room for the growing Civic departments. Working with the Structural Engineer, we used an innovative fibre-reinforced wrap to seismically upgrade the existing building, freeing up hundreds of thousands of dollars in the project budget for other needs and desires of the client.
The design team sought to reuse and tell stories of reuse through the design. The existing landscape had grown wildly around the site and had virtually hidden the entrance to the buildings on the front street, and a beautiful 80-year-old elm tree sat in the space between the existing library and city hall. The roots of the tree were damaging the two structures, and it was unfortunately determined that the tree had to be removed. To honour its life and mark its presence where the atrium now stands, the design team repurposed the wood in the feature wall of the Atrium staircase. The wall is intended to echo the timber stacked in mill yards in the early days of North Vancouver.
"This building is a joy to be in, and to work in — the light is beautiful, the air in the building is fresh, and the spaces are both comfortable and efficient... it’s a great design, and it’s great to see it getting the recognition it deserves.”
Links & Resources
RAIC – Governor General's Medal in Architecture, 2014
AIBC – Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia Award in Architecture – Medal, 2013
Wood Design & Building – North American Wood Design Award – Merit, 2012