The Bloor/Dufferin branch of the Toronto Public Library reopened its doors this July after a 3 year, 9,000 sq ft renovation and addition. The existing structure was built in 1913 and carries all of its original classic charm indicative of the time. The Architects, architects rounthwaite, dick and hadley, in association with Shoalts and Zaback and ERA beautifully married the history and detailing of the old, with their contemporary glass box addition.
The new glass addition mimics the height and depth of the existing classic structure. Inside, by removing key existing partitions a flood of light is free to wash throughout the space. Existing elements such as two original fireplaces were exposed and refurbished along with endless classic moulding and details. A palette of white walls, clear glazing and punches of vibrant colour on the furnishings create a beautifully simplistic space as warm and inviting as it is contemporary.
The new space boasts a partial green roof, expanded landscaping and an outdoor reading garden. These details speak to the TPL’s commitment to the community and their record of excellence. The TPL is currently ranked as the second-most-used library system on the planet, after Hong Kong’s. In a continued effort to evolve with the changing demands of its visitors, the formality of the past although shyly present still, has made way for a friendlier homier tone. Their mandate was to create a space for everyone: the space is filled with small nooks and spaces allowing everyone to find their own. Free wifi is available throughout the space and food and drinks are now welcome. There are areas for students to focus in silence and open space for casual visitors to sip their latte and scan the shelves as they wood at a favourite book store.