The building has been skillfully designed to play a central cultural role in the community and to promote the resurgence of the core of Vancouver.Timothy Leavitt, (former) mayor, City of Vancouver
With circulation and visitors surging in suburban branches, the Fort Vancouver Library District Board noted a dwindling number of central branch patrons. We were asked to design a new flagship downtown library tailored to the community’s desires, envisioning a building that provided both a cultural and economic boost to a revitalized downtown. As the anchor of a mixed use, multi-block development, the building’s four-story, nearly 200’ long atrium faces a future civic plaza. The space, highlighted by a multi–story art piece visible from blocks away, weaves together the underpinnings of the library (discovery, curiosity, exploration and connection) with practical and easy-to-understand building navigation.
Designed for an intuitive visitor experience, each floor has a specific collection and services with a distinct character to allow patrons to find the environment that suits them that day–from the bustle of the cafe at street-level to the quiet of the wood-wrapped reading room on level five. The building’s materials and expression reflect the importance of the site as a link between the downtown commercial core and the historic district. An expansive rooftop deck provides views to the Columbia River and Mount Hood, creating a breathtaking spot for a cup of coffee, to quietly read, meet up with friends, or to attend a book reading.
Today, the new library is thriving–increasing circulation by more than 50% from the old building. More tellingly, visitation has more than doubled as the library now host thousands more visitors a year–a sign the community loves its new library, and that the building is contributing to Vancouver’s cultural vibrancy.