Surrey City Centre Library, British Columbia’s latest architectural landmark, was designed with the input of hundreds of community members. Local firm Bing Thom Architects made space for the public voice by setting up a Facebook page, Flickr account, and blog to facilitate an open discussion and encourage photo sharing. The result is stunning – the 82,000 square foot library houses multiple community rooms, a lounge with a fireplace, an atrium, coffee shop, and 80 public computers all under one green roof. Natural light floods the grand staircase and open study spaces, while comfortable-looking chairs of all shapes and colors invite visitors to take a seat and dive into one of the 100,000 books that line the shelves.
The population of Surrey City skews young, which probably accounts for the crowdsourcing experiment’s success, as well as the many requests for family friendly space. To reward the eager and interested participants, the firm has incorporated a children’s room with funky low-level tables, kid-sized bathrooms, a teen hang-out area, and mod-style “moon” chairs with built-in speakers.
The library also promises to pilot innovative services, such as the loan of 20 pre-loaded eBook readers, and it hopes to revive the city as a welcoming venue for cultural exchange.
The Surrey Library system serves a community of nearly half a million visitors, so adding this green facility ought to bring even more foot traffic. The official grand opening is scheduled for September 24, 2011.
Photos © Paul Hillsdon, provided by Civic Surrey