Phase 1: concept design
The concept design for the new central library draws inspiration from traditional First Nation and Métis architecture. The concept design of the new central library aligns with the project’s vision, which is for a building that’s infused with the spirit and potential of our community. The new central library also aspires to be a leader in reconciliation, environmental sustainability (LEED® Gold Certified), and accessibility (Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility CertificationTM).
The exterior of the library is evocative of the First Nation tipi. The building envelope is a combination of transparent, translucent and opaque glass panels. This will ensure there are ever-present views of the beautiful sky. At night, the library will be a warm, glowing lantern — a beacon at the heart of Saskatoon.
The building’s interior mass timber structure references the Métis log cabin. The building’s structure is conceived as a tree, with a strong concrete structural trunk in the back and a light wood mass timber structure branching off. This structure will enable the library to have large open and interconnected areas, with a minimum number of interior walls and separations.
The design team is exploring sustainable strategies that minimize our environmental footprint and improve the quality of spaces within the building. They will be focusing on passive strategies and the First Nation and Métis approach of placing nature at the centre of our value system. The exterior landscaping will incorporate local plants and trees and reflect the surrounding land.
The new central library concept design was informed by what we heard from residents during the first phase of consultations in early 2021.