Figure 1 Parti
Architecture is the canvas for stories in our lives. The artwork is never completed. It is a work in progress, always waiting for new elements to be added, new characters to move in. Therefore, it is possible to take multiple desirable elements that might not fit together or even seem mutually contradictory and fuse them together.
In the case of a concept development for a Children's Library, I took such an approach.
The project brief is based on a proposal to build a library for children at a neighborhood in Cambridge, Ontario. It is in close proximity to the main library that mainly serves the adult age group.
Children between the age of 5 to 9 are highly active, dynamic, curious and spontaneous. They live in a world of games, rituals and humor. On the other hand, children of older age group namely early teens need time and freedom to engage in self reflection and develop views about their surroundings.
Figure 1 shows a parti diagram for Children's Library in Cambridge, Ontario.
At the center is the space reflecting the needs of younger children - highly energetic, dynamic, open, dramatic, inviting, transparent and full of activities. The surrounding space reflects the needs of older children. It is calm and secluded, allowing in self absorption, reflection, smaller group discussions and reading. It is closed from its surrounding. Hence, the building has dual personality, both energetic and calm.
Figure 2 shows the exploded view of the conceptual building. The first component is cubic reflecting its square site and made of brick. Brick is chosen to create a calm, comfortable, earthy and opaque space for the teenage group. It also reflects the material used in the main library which is in close proximity to this site. It will give the local visitors a sense of comfort and familiarity. The central space is circular and made of glass and steel. It is inviting and open. It has visual connection with the surrounding area.There is a ramp at the center that connects the levels that corresponds to particular age group collections. The ramp gives the space, a sense of dynamism, spontaneity and connection. Figure 3 shows the structure of the ramp. Figure 2 also shows the structure of the roof and glass dome to bring in ample sunlight and view of the sky.