The Fort York Branch Library is located on the northeast corner of Bathurst Street and Fort York Boulevard, in Toronto, Canada, and is an important civic amenity in this newly minted neighbourhood. The library is situated on what was the original shoreline of Lake Ontario and the mouth of Garrison Creek and shares the unique site east of historic Fort York with a residential tower, Library District, and a public park that is currently being planned.
KPMB designed the library and neighbouring condominium’s amenity as pavilions in the park and introduced pedestrian pathways throughout the site to facilitate public access to the park and Fort York. The library is a highly transparent two storey building designed and oriented to provide unimpeded views to Fort York, the city and the lake.
The ground floor connects with the future park while the second floor maintains views to the Fort and its ramparts – the inspiration for the compositional geometry of the building. Perforated metal fins along the north, west and south façades at the second level, provide sun protection during the day, transparency into the library at dusk, and an integrated public art piece.
The public art piece, based on The Journals of Susanna Moodie, is a unique collaboration between visual artist Charles Pachter and poet/author Margaret Atwoood. Pachter’s drawing “The Planters” is recreated on the perforated metal fins of the west façade while Atwood’s poetry is installed on metal letters mounted to the underside of the soffit perimeter along the north, west and south façade of the building.
Photos: Tom Arban and Maris Mezulis.