Miller Hull’s Powell River Library is located on a previously developed site on the edge of the Strait of Georgia. The design grows from a simple rectilinear programmatic form, and it responds to the client’s request for a single-level building by tucking into a hillside with a 26-foot change in elevation. This creates an exciting streetscape that interacts with the building’s semi-saw-toothed green roof. Informal seating and gathering spaces are created as the adjacent pedestrian walk glides down to the sunken entry level of the building. These public spaces help to create a building which Kregel describes as “a significant public building that the community will use as a central gathering place”.
Miller Hull responded to the community’s strong desire to make the building sustainable yet affordable. The building responds well to the opportunities of this exciting site – for instance, the saw-tooth roof creates north-facing clerestories, which bring in softer natural light. The library’s roof design also incorporates a large overhang along the edge directly parallel to the waterfront, which provides shelter from the harsher western sunlight. These sustainable, site-specific design methods will help the library to maintain energy savings on lighting and heating year round. In addition to providing daylighting, the glazed window-walls open the interior up to the water, capturing the site’s spectacular views. Miller Hull incorporated open, flexible spaces, so the library can be easily adapted over time as needs change without dramatic renovation.