Carleton University library wins design-transformation award

The MacOdrum Library at Carleton University in Ottawa has received a 2015 Ontario Library Association (OLA) Library Building Award. The tri-annual program recognizes library architectural and design transformation.

Diamond Schmitt Architects in joint venture with Edward J. Cuhaci and Associates Architects renewed the 1960s-era facility, adding 74,000 square feet of new space and 35,000 square feet of renovated area. An austere facade facing the main Carleton campus that was part of an earlier transformation was removed and the building extended to accommodate new light-filled study space.

Nine new reading rooms allow for visual connection and a free flow of students around a helical mahogany staircase. Innovative study features include a video gaming lab, 3D printers and highly interactive study rooms with large touch-screen monitors, as well as two treadmills with desks where students can study and exercise at the same time.

The OLA statement: “Through their partnerships with architectural firms, the award recipients have created wonderful community spaces. The OLA salutes our recipients’ dedication to meeting the demand for multi-functional library buildings that serve the needs of their communities and organizations.”

Says Ms. Sydney Browne, principal, at Diamond Schmitt Architects. “We are grateful to the OLA for this award: MacOdrum is the only academic library to be recognized by the program this year. We sought to renew MacOdrum’s role to provide students with a variety of facilities required for today’s interdisciplinary and digitally-driven academic programs, and also to re-establish the library as a vibrant space at the heart of the campus.”

The award was presented on July 7 at the Annual Institute on Library as Place in Waterloo, ON.


Diamond Schmitt Architects is a leading full-service architectural firm based in Toronto with an international reputation for design excellence and sustainable design solutions. An extensive portfolio includes performing arts centers, academic buildings, libraries, sports facilities, master plans, residential and commercial buildings. Equally extensive is work completed for the healthcare sector, with life science facilities, research laboratories and hospitals.

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