The Waterdown Library and Civic Centre is a 23,500 square foot community facility housing space for a library; a public archive; two flexible recreation rooms; and municipal, community and police services outlets. The new library and civic complex is located in Waterdown, Canada, at a high elevation atop the Niagara escarpment. The site has a significant topography which falls three metres from its highest to lowest points.
The design process began with an acknowledgement of the site topography and the resulting architecture has been conceived as a fragment of the dolomitic limestone upon which it sits. The design takes advantage of its site, using the change in elevation to provide expression and access to various programmatic elements. In essence, the building has been designed as a public landscape that users can ascend to reach their intended area of use.
To achieve this, the building has been organized as a single story, split level facility which exists on six levels. Each of the six levels is arrived at by accessible 1:25 sloped walkways. The topography begins at the lowest street level entry, continues through the mid-level municipal areas, and is extended into the library which is organized as a series of four terraces. The highest level of the library sits exactly one story above the recreation centre and entry at the lowest elevation. A large reading atrium is situated at this high elevation providing striking views of the escarpment and the lake beyond.
Sustainable initiatives include: abundant glazed curtain wall to maximize daylighting; solar shading comprised of custom ceramic frit patterns and wood fins; use of recycled material; locally available materials; low v.o.c. materials; daylight harvesting; a flowering orchard to shade parking areas; extensive green roofs; bio-swales in parking lots and green spaces; and an underground rain water collection system.