The Springdale Library & Komagata Maru Park
RDH Architects (RDHA)
Michael Georgie - The Brampton Library
In the City of Brampton, 45 minutes west of Toronto, the Springdale Library and Komagata Maru Park provides the suburban community with a new public library and community park. The goal for this project was to create an inclusive gathering place, a progressive architectural counterpoint to the typical suburban setting, and a point of pride for the city.
This new branch library provides for 20,000 square feet of library program space, combined with a 5,000 square foot community multi-purpose room. The neighbourhood park is comprised of areas for children’s play equipment, a splash pad, parking, and a contemplative garden.
The project is as much about a building as it is about establishing a landscape: from the organically shaped perimeter that joins building and courtyards; and the creation of an undulating topography between the fluidly shaped ceiling and mountainous green roof, and the sloping floor slab of the interior and the flat landscape of the park. The neighbourhood park is comprised of a series of terraced contemplative gardens for older users; a splashpad; and a children’s play area. The splashpad and play area have been organized around the word “Imagine”. The five-metre-high letters are oriented in both horizontal and vertical planes and become an interactive feature for the children to discover.
The new Springdale branch provides Brampton Library with an emboldened presence and a valuable resource to the Springdale community. The librarian states that “the stunning architectural features of Springdale Branch Library stand out, raising awareness and building excitement for what libraries do.”
The Springdale Library is located in the city of Brampton, west of Toronto, situated along the suburban thoroughfare of Bramalea Road. The site is physically constrained, framed by a commercial plaza to the east, a main road to the south, and a natural ravine that curves along the northern and western boundaries of the site.
The footprint of the site has a non-orthogonal form. It begins as a compressed and triangular shape at its connection to Bramalea to the south; opening up into a broad and arcing form towards the north and west where it connects to the green corridor of the ravine. The eastern edge of the site is adjacent to a new road, perpendicular to Bramalea, which provides access to the new library and a suburban commercial development to the east.
The architects positioned the library as close to the street as possible, in an attempt to solidify the building's presence with the street, preserve the site's natural topography and irrigation patterns, and channel interior views towards the ravine. This siting also maximized room in the rear for a neighborhood park, and a parking and drop-off sequence with a canopied entry forecourt. The project is as much about a building as it is about establishing a landscape: from the organically shaped perimeter that joins building and courtyards; and the creation of an undulating topography between the fluidly shaped ceiling and mountainous green roof, and the sloping floor slab of the interior and the undulating landscape of the park.
The Springdale Library and Komagata Maru Park has been designed to achieve high levels of sustainability, public user performance, and accessibility. This highly sustainable LEED Gold library incorporates numerous sustainable features including: geothermal heating and cooling; daylight harvesting; use of low voc materials; locally available materials; intensive green roofs; custom ceramic frit patterns and low e coatings on glazing; indigenous planting; bioswales to control stormwater; and significant rainwater harvesting for grey water use in the building and for irrigation within the landscape.
The Springdale Library is also highly successful in terms of its user performance and accessibility. The library’s standard metrics are up in every category relative to all other branches in the system. Increases in visitors to the branch are up 150.1%, circulation of library materials is up by 47.7% for physical materials and 33.7 % for digital materials, program attendance is up 220.3%, computer sessions used are at 103.9% above average, wireless use is up 1885.7% and the number of new library cards generated huge gains. The library achieves these metrics through its vibrant, exciting and truly accessible new architecture. The building meets some of the highest levels of universal accessibility, truly offering free access to information to all. It has genuinely been embraced by the community and is quickly becoming one of the most cherished public institutions in Brampton.
Expressing inclusivity, innovation, dedication to learning, collaboration, curiosity, courage and accountability this new LEED Gold building demonstrates the highest levels of achievement in usership, accessibility and sustainable design.