Ontario Library Association awards three firms for transformative designs

Stunning architecture, connections with local histories, and providing communities with exciting spaces are just a few notables aspects of the recipients of the 2021 Ontario Library Association Library Architectural and Design Transformation Award. The award presentation was made at the OLA Annual Institute on the Library as Place event, held virtually on July 14, 2021.

The OLA Library Architectural and Design Transformation Award encourages and showcases excellence in additions, renovations, restorations, conversion to library use, and interior redesign and refurnishing in the architectural design of libraries in Ontario.

“Libraries are places for people to participate in programs, to study, learn and read. Now, more than ever, people need welcoming, inspiring and well-designed spaces,” said Shelagh Paterson, Executive Director of OLA. “This category challenges communities to not only think about the current needs of their library, but the library of the future.”

The Ontario Library Association (OLA) is pleased to announce three recipients of the 2021 Library Architectural and Design Transformation Award:

University of Toronto – University College, Kohn Shnier + ERA Architects in Association

From the jury: “This project is a beautiful and skilled renovation of a significant heritage building. The new elements of the library are considerately designed to draw on and respect their context in the fabric of the carefully restored existing building. The modern recreation of the mezzanine provides an opportunity to create a variety of new spaces that highlight elements of the historic fabric.”

Windsor Public Library – John Muir Branch, studio g+G architecture

From the jury: “The renovation of the historic fire hall with its glazed lantern on the hose tower and bay doors create a beacon and welcoming façade to the community. The interior of the library provides a spacious flexible main space that welcomes you to explore the surrounding semi-private spaces and integrated restored 19th Century stable building. The restoration and linking of the two heritage buildings has created a contemporary branch library that welcomes its community.”

Clearview Public Library – Stayner Branch, Lebel & Bouliane

From the jury: “The seam metal cladding system deployed by the architects effectively integrates the exterior of the library with the adjacent arena and community hall complex. The overall form of the building subtly reflects the shed/barn roof typology that is native to the region. The sighting of the building, in combination with large north facing windows and south facing roof-top light monitors, flood the library’s interior with natural light.”


Photo by Tom Arban

The OLA Library Building Award encourages and showcases excellence in the architectural design and planning of libraries in Ontario. The award is divided into two alternating categories (Library Architectural and Design Transformation and New Library Buildings). Each runs every three years.

The call for applications for the OLA Library Building Awards, New Library Building category, will be open spring 2022.