Toronto-based architecture firm RDHA has completed the Springdale Library and Komagata Maru Park, a new inclusive gathering space for Brampton, a city located about 45 minutes west of Toronto. Designed as a visual contrast to the flat suburban environment, the architects created an undulating landscape of hills that is reinforced by the building’s mountainous form. Surrounded by walls of glass and solar shades, the green-roofed library is powered by geothermal energy and is expected to achieve LEED Gold certification.

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long road parallel to glass library building

Completed in the summer of 2019, the Springdale Library and Komagata Maru Park is located on a physically constrained site bordered by a commercial plaza to the east, a main road to the south and a natural ravine to the north and west. Rather than fight the site’s unusual shape, the architects allowed the wedge-shaped plot to inform the design of the library, which was placed as close to the street as possible to preserve the site’s natural topography and irrigation patterns. The position of the library also maximized space in the rear for the neighborhood park, which consists of terraced contemplative gardens punctuated by 5-meter-tall letters that spell out the word “imagine”.

Related: LEED Gold-targeted Ottawa library will honor local history

green, white and yellow chairs under a curvy ceiling with a round skylight
parent and child sitting on colorful stools in a glass building

The new Springdale branch library comprises 20,000 square feet of library program space as well as a 5,000-square-foot community multipurpose room. Floor to-ceiling windows fill the interior with natural light and are set back from the perimeter to mitigate unwanted solar gain. The windows are etched with a solar-responsive ceramic frit pattern with striated patterns ranging from white to dark gray that expand and contract depending on solar orientation. The undulating roof is punctuated with skylights and creates an “otherworldly” atmosphere.

round reception desk in a glass building
aerial view of triangle-shaped building with hilly green roof

“RDHA designed a project that would be as much about a building as it is about establishing a landscape: from the organically shaped perimeter that joins building and courtyards; and the creation of an undulating topography between the fluidly shaped ceiling and mountainous green roof; and the sloping floor slab of the interior and the flat landscape of the park,” reads the project statement. The library is also equipped with graywater systems and electric car charging.

+ RDHA

Photography by Nic Lehoux via RDHA