Parkdale Collegiate Library

Surface Experiments

The library at Park­dale Col­le­giate, although mod­est in scale and resources, is very well used. The size of the orig­i­nal library was dou­bled by erect­ing a new floor with­in the adja­cent dou­ble-height gym­na­si­um. The expan­sion and ren­o­va­tion of the exist­ing library pro­vides more space and incor­po­rates new equipment/resources that pro­vides a new, dynam­ic envi­ron­ment. The design is struc­tured into spaces or ‘bands’ based on the type of use, allow­ing for easy super­vi­sion and orga­ni­za­tion. The book stacks and librar­i­an stor­age sit on one side of the library and the qui­et, study car­rels are on the oth­er, sep­a­rat­ed by the main band of activ­i­ty and cir­cu­la­tion. These bands are artic­u­lat­ed by var­i­ous activ­i­ties with­in them as well as the fin­ish­es and ceil­ing heights.

This project had an aggres­sive per-square-foot bud­get. A high lev­el of design was main­tained with­out exceed­ing this cost lim­it by rely­ing on new designed adja­cen­cies rather than the use of rich mate­ri­als for ele­vat­ed qual­i­ty. Stan­dard mate­ri­als cho­sen for dura­bil­i­ty and per­for­mance were com­bined in unex­pect­ed ways to achieve rich­ness of tex­ture, colour, and undu­lat­ing form. All of these trans­for­ma­tions were com­plet­ed while respect­ing the spir­it of the bud­get.

Park­dale Col­le­giate Library was the recip­i­ent of the Ontario Library Award for inno­va­tion and stan­dard set­ting design.

Locat­ed at the cen­tre of an inner-city neigh­bour­hood in the west end of down­town Toron­to, the library at Park­dale Col­le­giate Insti­tute forms an inte­gral part of both the school and the sur­round­ing neigh­bour­hood. Stu­dents feel com­fort­able and wel­comed by this new space. The lay­out of the library allows for flu­id cir­cu­la­tion, which is dra­mat­i­cal­ly evi­dent dur­ing peak user hours, mak­ing the library feel spa­cious regard­less of the num­ber of stu­dents. Stu­dents and teach­ers want to be in the library and teach­ers book the library for every peri­od of every day, a tes­ta­ment to the suc­cess of the design. The 6,000 sq.ft. library serves approx­i­mate­ly 600 stu­dents and 50 teach­ers and staff mem­bers, has 18, 758 resources in its col­lec­tion, 27 com­put­ers, and cir­cu­lates 300 books per month.

Project Facts

  • Client

    Toron­to Dis­trict School Board

  • Location

    Toron­to, Ontario

  • Size

    6,000 sqf

  • Status


  • Sub-Consultant Team

    Struc­tur­al — Black­well Bow­ick Engi­neer­ing

    Elec­tri­cal — Day + Behn Engi­neer­ing

    Mechan­i­cal — Day + Behn Engi­neer­ing

  • General Contractor

    KCL Con­tract­ing + Engi­neer­ing LTD.

  • Photography

    Tom Arban