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Waterdown Library and Civic Centre (2015)

23 Mar 2016
Image Credit: Tom Arban
Architectural Credit: Rounthwaite Dick & Hadley Architects Inc.
Location: Hamilton, ON
Architects: Rounthwaite Dick & Hadley Architects Inc
Date of completion: 2015
OAA Awards 2016 Design Excellence Finalist

Sitting atop the Niagara Escarpment in the former Township of Waterdown (now part of Hamilton) the Waterdown Library and Civic Centre is 23,500 square feet community hub housing not only a Hamilton public library branch, but also the city’s municipal service centre, a senior centre, Flamborough information and city services, and the Flamborough archives. This single-storey, split-level building has been cleverly designed to take advantage of its slopped site, utilizing a system of terraces and inclined walkways to organize the complex program.

Exterior view of southern facade. Photo Credit: Tom Arban
Responding to the adjacent residential neighbourhoods to its north, west and east, the new library and civic centre maintains a low one storey profile, yet the interior feels expansive thanks to its internal organization on six different levels that make use of the site’s natural three metre drop. Each of the six levels is arrived at by way of barrier-free 1:20 sloping walkways, providing fluid movement between the different terraces and programs. The split-level organization allows for two entry points, one at the lower street-level elevation and one at a mid-level elevation adjacent to parking.

Interior view of elevated reading atrium. Photo Credit: Tom Arban
The library occupies four of the building’s terraces. The highest level of the library sits exactly one storey above the recreation centre, located at the lowest elevation of the site. A large reading atrium is situated at this high elevation, providing views of the escarpment, tree canopy, and Lake Ontario in the distance. Expansive glazing and elegant skylights bring daylight deep into the facility, while elegant limestone and Douglas fir fins help reduce glare and excessive heat gain.

Exterior view of south facade at dusk. Photo Credit: Tom Arban
The Waterdown Library and Civic Centre provides an ingenious architectural solution to the naturally sloping site, taking advantage of the existing topography to establish an elegant and universally accessible interior organization for this newly established community hub.

To view the complete submission, including additional images and drawings, please click here.

This post (19/20) is part of the OAA Awards 2016 Design Excellence Finalists blOAAg series celebrating the best of Ontario architecture. Every day during the month of March we will be posting a new finalist. You can view all posts by clicking here. Winners will be announced April 1, 2016.

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