Bloor/Gladstone Branch - Toronto Public Library

Bloor/Gladstone Branch - Toronto Public Library

Rounthwaite, Dick and Hadley architects inc. (RDH Architects Inc.), in association with Shoalts and Zaback Architects Ltd., E.R.A. Architects Inc. (heritage architect)
Toronto Public Library
Landscape Architect
NAK Design
General Contractor
Pre-Eng Contracting Ltd.
About the Project

Built in 1913, the landmark Bloor/Gladstone Branch project of Toronto Public Library is a renovation and addition to a listed heritage property in downtown Toronto. The 20,627 sq foot facility was renovated to bring the library into the 21st century with a building that is over 9,000 sq feet larger, accessible and supports modern library services while, at the same time, treasures the past. The building is not only more welcoming, it is more sustainable too with the Library’s first green roof. The new glass addition with a two storey curtain wall provides a dynamic street presence. To maximize public space, a floating glass cube for staff was added which includes a film depicting photos of the trees that had to be removed during construction. An outdoor enclosed reading patio from the children’s area was also added to create a quiet oasis. The height of the ceilings with the large original arches creates a feeling of space to the extent that even when the place is packed and all seats are taken, somehow it doesn’t feel crowded.

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Decent new old mashup.

But the new section lacks a bit of whimsy and imagination considering it's a library.

Loved it!!

Excellent! Well designed in keeping with the locale. The dramatic addition complements the classic existing building.

i would love it, except the lighting system makes a high pitched annoying buzzing sound that is just so irritating, it actually made me mad. the lights inside are clearly cheap junk and should not have been put in this building. i would estimate that at least 1/8 of the electricity used by the lamps is just turned into sound energy and not light. quelle piss-off!

otherwise its a great building, i especially like how it looks from bloor street.

hate the new. The older part is classic and how a public library should look, in my opinion. The new edition is too blah.

The addition is excellent being nicely aligned and proportioned with the old building. Inside, the layout remains logical with the addition. New and old seem to exist in harmony, and it all comes down to the fine details, from the functional construction to the interesting landscaping in front. There was a recognition that the old building is an architectural gem for the ages and the architects were mature enough not to desire to overpower it or outdo it on a limited budget. In another context, such a desire might lead to something great, but not with this beautiful old branch library. Yet the addition isn't passive and does not merely defer attention to the old through neutrality, it's bright in the day and radiates in the evening, drawing attention to the library as an institution rather than just to the old building. There's nothing crude or sloppy about this project. Toronto Public Library inspires us once again. Bravo.

Great old structure, well done, not so sure I like all the glass of the addition, however, the old structure overrides.

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