Ottawa

Library architects seeking input on 'finishing touches'

Samples of the wood, stone, copper and aluminum that may be used inside and outside the building will be on display Tuesday evening at the Nepean Sportsplex and Wednesday at Library and Archives Canada.

New facility beside LeBreton Flats expected to open in 2025

Dozens of people attended a public consultation on the new central library on Monday evening at the Shenkman Arts Centre in Orléans. (Hillary Johnstone/CBC)

The architects behind Ottawa's new central library are asking residents to help them put the "finishing touches" on the facility before construction begins.

Samples of the wood, stone, copper and aluminum that may be used inside and outside the building will be on display Tuesday evening at the Nepean Sportsplex and Wednesday at Library and Archives Canada.

The library's design team is expected to unveil more complete plans in the new year, but they still want input on the "kind of look and feel" the public wants to see at the library, according to Don Schmitt with Diamond Schmitt Architects, one of the firms designing the new facility.

Schmitt says the public has already made a huge impact on the design during three previous rounds of consultations held this past spring and summer.

Don Schmitt is with Diamond Schmitt Architects, one of the firms designing the library along with Ottawa's KWC Architects. (Hillary Johnstone/CBC)

"The public consultation has really changed things in the building. We've moved the children's area down lower, closer to entrances. We've made the genealogy centre much more prominent," said Schmitt.

There are high hopes for the new facility, which is expected to open in 2025 at the eastern edge of Lebreton Flats.

Dozens of people attended a consultation on Monday evening at the Shenkman Arts Centre in Orléans.

Samples of wood and stone were on display at the Shenkman Arts Centre in Orléans on Monday night. (Hillary Johnstone/CBC)

"I'm really hoping for ... a building of significance," said Ryan Way, who attended the meeting.

"Something that can be world class, can rival things like the Guggenheim Museum in New York, or other really large, magnificent buildings, and can really be a beacon for the city,"

Ryan Way says he hopes the new library will be a 'beacon' for the city. (Hillary Johnstone/CBC)

Ruxandra Lungu has attended previous public consultations on the new library, and said she hopes to see the design close a "generational gap," so that residents who are both young and old can enjoy the facility.

"It's really important that a lot of thought goes into the building process," she said.

Ruxandra Lungu and her husband have attended previous public consultations on the library's design. (Hillary Johnstone/CBC)

Michael Ireland, who has worked in libraries during his career, said he hopes the architects get "the right thing done."

"It's gotta be a place that people want to come to. Yes, there is a function, to borrow books or learn new things … But it's gotta be attractive," said Ireland.

Michael Ireland, who has worked at libraries in the past, says the new facility needs to be attractive. (Hillary Johnstone/CBC)

Tuesday night's public consultation will run from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Nepean Sportsplex.

Wednesday's meeting will go from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Pellan Room at Library and Archives Canada — a partner in the project that's getting 40 per cent of the space in the new building.

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